Breast milk is the best food for the baby. It is prepared to cover all your nutritional needs from birth And, according to the WHO, it is the only food that the baby should receive up to 6 months of life. But breast milk does not contain only nutrients, and breastfeeding is not only feeding the baby, but also covering their affective and emotional needs and helping the development of their immune system.
From 6 months, the baby is ready to get to know other foods, flavors and textures, so it begins with complementary feeding, what happens then with breastfeeding?
Breast milk should remain the basis of nutrition at least until one year of life, covering the vast majority of the baby's nutritional needs, while the rest of the foods only complement it and not the other way around. But how long to continue breastfeeding?
The WHO is clear about this, breastfeeding should be prolonged at least up to 2 years, and from there, until the mom-baby tandem decides.
As mammals that we are, our digestive system is ready to digest breast milk, but that should be the only milk we drink and, after natural weaning, no milk from another animal is, nutritionally speaking, necessary. It is true that milk contains considerable amounts of calcium, also vitamin D, and that it is an attractive source of energy that is easy to ingest, since a 200ml glass of whole milk provides around 125 kcal. However, none of this makes it essential in the diet of children or adults, since the micronutrients it provides can be easily obtained from other sources.
Breast milk, however, has other benefits. Although its energy contribution, even after the establishment of complementary feeding, is considerable, this is not its main attraction. Breast milk provides, among other things, from birth to weaning, whatever the age at which it occurs:
1. A wide range of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).
2. Protein of the highest biological value.
3. Enzymes and other cofactors They participate in important reactions in the body, many of them in the brain.
4. Bacteria that help maintain the intestinal microflora.
5. Antibodies, immunoglobulins and other immune protection factors. The immune system of a newborn is obviously much less developed than that of a 6-month-old baby and this in turn less than that of a 2-year-old baby, but breast milk, being a living product, provides immune protection required at all times. Specifically, when in contact with a new antigen (virus or bacteria), the first antibodies appear at approximately 4-5 hours in breast milk, adding to those that the baby itself produces, thus increasing its defenses.
6. Extra protection It also supposes the bacterial load present, which originates from the maternal gastrointestinal tract, and which, on the one hand, stimulates the immune system to ensure its optimal development, and on the other, it competes with possible pathogens with which the baby may be in contact.
Far from magically turning into water, as women who breastfeed after 6 months often hear, breast milk is still the best milk that the baby or child can receive, and breastfeeding continues to be food and comfort as it was. first day.
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