What’s so unique about breast milk?
Breastmilk is the original superfood
Your breast milk is totally unique to you. Its composition is determined by a mixture of factors, including your diet, hormones, genetics and environmental influences. Amazingly, it also changes with your baby’s individual needs.
Tailor-made for your baby
It is not yet known exactly how breast milk is innately tailored to you and your baby. That’s why we’re committed to continuous research into this natural marvel. However, we do know that the fat content of breast milk increases during each feed. It also changes to reflect environmental factors, so it contains more water if the weather is hot.
Baby boys consume more of their mother’s milk than girls1. And surprisingly, the breast milk produced for boys contains 25% more calories than for girls. For more information, see the seven wonders of breast milk.
Breast milk composition
Around 87.5% of breast milk is made up of water.
‘Foremilk3,4’ – the first milk of a breastfeeding session is packed with all the carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins a baby needs. As a result of its high water composition, it also protects exclusively breastfed babies from dehydration.
The ‘hindmilk’ produced towards the end of a breastfeeding session looks thicker and is darker in colour. This is because its energy and fat content increases as the feed goes on, allowing babies to take on enough energy to go longer between feeds.
The first milk of a breastfeeding session is packed with all the carbohydrates, protein and vitamins a baby needs.
- Powe CE et al. Am J Hum Biol 2010;22(1):50-4.
- Martin, C., Ling, P. and Blackburn, G. Nutrients, 2016;8(5):279.
- Hartmann PE. Mammary gland: Past, present, and future. In: Hale & Hartmann’s Textbook of Human Lactation. Amarillo, TX: Hale Publishing, 2007:3-16.
- Mizuno et al. Int Breastfeed J 2009;4(1):7.
Hear from our baby feeding expert, Sue Battersby, on how that amazing first cuddle with your new arrival doesn’t just feel great to you, but impacts their sleep habits, immunity, stress levels and more.
When it comes to introducing a sleep routine for your baby, it’s important to be realistic in your expectations. When they’re very young, they’ll simply sleep, wake and feed when their instincts tell them to. But after a few weeks, it’s possible to start introducing simple concepts like night and day, which can help when it comes to developing a routine later on.