Nutrients in Breast Milk

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All mammals, including human beings, produce milk for our babies to drink. The unique thing about this milk is that each species makes its unique kind, which has unique qualities for the development of a baby. Breast milk contains the best nutrients for a growing baby, especially when it comes to humans. While baby formula has a large market base, it cannot be denied that the nutritional value that breast milk offers, is incomparable to any formula foods, produced for babies.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends mothers to breastfeed their babies during the first six months exclusively, after which, you can introduce baby formula and other types of foods. Breast milk is essential for developing the immune system in the body of your baby and also for helping you contract the uterus and control the bleeding quickly after delivery. Following are the common nutrients found in breast milk.


Breast milk contains whey protein in approximately 60% quantity and casein protein in 40%. The balance helps for quick digestion and protects the newborn from infections. Proteins help your baby grow while protecting you by promoting the immune system functionality. Other proteins include:

  • Lactoferrin – Helps in the growth of iron dependent bacterial in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Secretory IgA – Helps in developing the immune system and protecting the baby from bacteria and viruses in the environment. Eating fish weekly can increase this protein in breast milk
  • Lysozyme – Helps in healthy growth of intestinal flora and promotes anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Bifidus Factor – Helps in growing lactobacillus that protects the baby from harmful bacteria


Breast milk contains healthy fats that are essential for neural development, absorbing fat soluble vitamins, and acting as a primary source of calories. Breast milk contains the long chain fatty acids that are needed for the development of brain, nervous system, and retina.


There is an abundance of vitamins in breast milk that pose various benefits to your baby. The amount of different vitamins in breast milk is directly proportionate to the vitamin intake of the mother. Fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, D, E, and K, are all essential for the healthy growth of your infant, whereas water soluble vitamins like Vitamin C, niacin, riboflavin, and panthothenic acid are essential for the overall well being of the growing child. All vitamins aid in proper bone, muscle, and skin growth along with a host of other benefits.


Lactose is the most common carbohydrate in breast milk and makes 40% of the total calories. Lactose can help in decreasing unhealthy bacteria in the baby’s stomach which then improves calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus absorption. Carbohydrates help the baby fight diseases and promote healthy bacteria growth in the stomach to prevent any acidity.

What to Consider

As you are now breastfeeding, it is time you consider your nutrition in accordance to your baby’s overall well being. By increasing your protein, soluble fat, vitamin, and carbohydrate intake, you can make sure that your baby is getting all the nutrients that are essential for healthy growth. Remember that while you can always buy baby formula, the best nutritional value is only offered by breast milk provided by the mother!

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