Today I would like to write a short post celebrating the incredible powers of the female body. Our bodies have the amazing superpower of growing a baby, giving birth to a baby, and then nourishing that baby ourselves, all of which is, to say the least, mind blowing.
In this post I would like to focus on breastfeeding, a uniquely female ability, which in my estimation is such an incredibly beautiful thing. Breastmilk, after all, is no ordinary substance.
For example, did you know that the composition of breastmilk, the production of which begins once you give birth, changes over time? A woman’s breastmilk is tailor-made for her baby’s specific needs at each stage of development.
- In the first few days after a baby is born the mother produces colostrum, which is a kind of pre-milk packed with antibodies, nutrients, and white blood cells. All of which the baby needs. Colostrum also coats the baby’s stomach, preventing his/her new digestive system from harmful bacteria.
- After a few days of colostrum, the mother produces transitional milk. This milk has more lactose, fat, and calories.
- After the tenth day postpartum, the mother produces mature milk, which is what the baby feeds on the longest.
- In a single feeding session the composition of breastmilk changes. First the foremilk comes out, which is lighter and more of a thirst quencher for the baby. After a few minutes, the hindmilk starts to come out, which is fattier and full of protein so the baby can develop properly. It’s important for the baby to feed long enough to get the hindmilk out, as that allows the baby to put on weight and grow.