Most new mothers wonder if breast milk is adequate to meet the nutritional needs of their child. According to research breast milk does provide many of the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are important to baby. These foods can be found in breast milk or can be added to the formula you are using. The nutritional content of breast milk will vary because its composition is made up of mainly fat, protein and sugar.
The following is a short overview of these elements of breast milk and what they provide for your newborn:
Whey: This is the main protein of breast milk which is made from cow’s milk. It contains both casein and whey proteins which are the most dominant protein components. Both of these play an important role in the composition of human milk which is why some mothers may find it easier to digest whey than casein. Whey also helps to thicken the consistency of formula, which makes it easier for a baby to take in.
Fat: Like all good sources of protein, fat is relatively high in calories and provides the necessary energy source to help babies grow and develop. Compared with other sources of calories, breast milk has a remarkably low fat content of about 4 calories per cup. This fat content can be lost by including lean meats or choosing leaner cuts of meats. However, it’s important to remember that the fats in formula come from sources like soy, corn and rice which contain no calories and would therefore be advisable to avoid or supplement with extra fat.
Proteins: There are two types of protein found in breast milk which are protein peptides and fat soluble vitamins. The majority of these proteins are found in cow’s milk but there are also some found in poultry and fish which contain different sources of these nutrients. While there is a fair amount of variation in sources of these nutrients between various animal species, some of these foods can provide a good source of these nutrients in the form of casein and whey. Whey and casein are included in a wide range of foods including: soy milk, cottage cheese, egg whites, tuna, nuts, avocados, sesame seeds, brown rice, potatoes, bananas, and applesauce.
Vitamins: All infants require a sufficient supply of vitamins and minerals. This is especially true of those with inadequate diets because the lack of these essential nutrients can lead to a variety of health issues. The fat in breast milk is easily absorbed into the body which provides an excellent source of these vitamins and minerals. Some of these include: folic acid, riboflavin, folic sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, thiamine, niacin, and magnesium. It’s important to ensure that your infant receives adequate amounts of these vitamins and minerals through a number of sources, including: cereals, vegetables, meats, and fruits.
Fat: One of the major benefits of breastfeeding is the fact that the fat content in breast milk is minimal. For this reason it is not necessary to remove the fat from the infant’s diet. Breast milk will contain some fat which is necessary for the healthy development of a baby. However, it is not necessary to reduce the fat content of your baby’s diet. Instead, it is possible to reduce the amount of calories your baby consumes through the addition of skimmed milk, ice creams, or reduced calorie milks to his or her daily meal.