Breast-milk and Its Role in Brain Development of Your Baby
Created by Cheena M Gujral Updated on Jan 15, 2021
Right from the early days of my pregnancy, my doctor had informed me well about the extensive health benefits of breastfeeding for my baby. Clearly, when my son was born, I continued breastfeeding him for almost 2 years. So, mommies, did you know your milk gradually changes with the course of time to meet the needs of your baby. Yes, right from the first day to the second week and to 6 months and thereafter, breastmilk and its components vary. But, one of the most important roles of breastmilk is that it plays a crucial role in the brain development of your baby.
How Will Breastmilk Enhance Brain Development Of Your Baby?
Breastmilk has more than 200 beneficial components that support brain advancement in babies. The main components are:
1. DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) & ARA (Arachidonic Acid):
Essential fatty acids (EFA), such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA), are the key building blocks influencing the development of your infant’s brain and vision. Now, the human body doesn’t produce EFA in sufficient quantities and hence the infants have to depend on external sources to obtain these. (Source). Now, DHA primarily influences brain and visual function, while ARA has a role in structuring muscles and releases factors that help maintain immunity. In fact, DHA promotes healthy brain activeness in babies. So why not start DHA from the very first day?
Mothers milk is an alchemy in itself. The richness of protein is highly beneficial for babies. Proteins are key building blocks and have a vital role in various bodily functions. Proteolytic enzymes in breastmilk help in breaking down proteins into smaller amino acids which are easily digested by the baby. Thus, partially hydrolysed protein will help in digestive comfort in your baby and will help in gut health and immunity, and will also prevent chances of obesity (as partially hydrolysed proteins are better absorbed by babies).
Moreover, Whey proteins, present in breastmilk, act as antibodies that help in fighting infections and are found in abundance during the initial days of lactation. Taurine is also an amino acid, exclusively present in breastmilk, which plays a vital role in eye and brain development of your tiny angel.
3. Smart Sugars:
Your breastmilk is rich in natural sugar, lactose. Now, lactose breaks down into simpler sugars called glucose and galactose. Where glucose is the source of energy and metabolism, galactose fosters brain and nervous system development in your baby.
4. Vitamins and Minerals:
Vitamins and minerals are essential for your baby's growth and development. The main vitamins found in your breastmilk are Vitamin A, D, E, K, C, B6, B12, Folate and more. These vitamins ensure your baby has a healthy vision, strong bones and teeth, and has adequate growth and development. For instance, Vitamin C helps to heal the body, support the immune system, and aid in the body's absorption of iron. Similarly, Vitamin B6 is required for healthy brain development of your baby.
So, to sum it up, your breastmilk is responsible for baby’s brain development from a very early stage of his/her life. Breastmilk will prevent any neurodevelopmental risk in your baby at an early stage of life. Moreover, every time you breastfeed your baby, it forms a neuro connection and stimulates optimal brain growth. Also, breastmilk is known as the secret potion for intelligence! It boosts memory development in babies and promotes healthy intelligence levels. It's a proven fact that babies who are exclusively breastfed for three months are far ahead in brain quotient over others (Source:1 & Source:2).
Some Other Benefits Of Breastmilk
Did you know, the very first milk is called the Colostrum? It is referred as liquid gold because of its yellowish colour. Colostrum is supposed to have 90% of whey protein, which eventually drops. It has an immense presence of proteins, minerals, amino acids, nitrogen, white blood cells and sugars. It helped my child have his first antibodies.
In fact, did you know proteins and amino acids play a key role in overall physical, mental, and immunity development in your growing baby? Yes, proteins have a vital role in various bodily functions of your baby. Moving on, breastmilk changes to Foremilk (more water and lactose) to Hindmilk (more fats and calories). All these are crucial for your baby’s growth and brain development.
Apart from these, folate present in your breastmilk contributes to the overall health and development of your baby. Also, Vitamin E protects the cell membranes in the eyes and the lungs of your baby. So, if you are a mommy-to-be or a new mommy, please be keen to breastfeed your little one with love and joy. This will help your baby be sharper, smarter and healthier!
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Disclaimer: SHSH programme is for educational purposes only, in partnership with doctors. Consult a doctor for queries about your or your child's health.
| May 23, 2018
my 4month old baby passing poops with full of foam nd green colour from last 10 days. we consult pediatrician he prescribed ofloxacin and ornidazole combination drops. motions are controlled while using syrup and 2 days after stopping medicine but again started motions while taking breast milk and formula feed. may i know the reason of green colour foamy motions after breast feedand why should it happened after stopping that medicine.