Human Breast Milk

Human Breast Milk

Breast milk, to be specific human milk, is the milk produced by the breasts (or mammary glands) of a human female for her infant offspring. Milk is the primary source of nutrition for newborns before they are able to eat and digest other foods; older infants and toddlers may continue to be breastfed, either exclusively or in combination with other foods.

The baby nursing from its own mother is the most ordinary way of obtaining breastmilk, but the milk can be pumped and then fed by baby bottle, cup and/or spoon, supplementation drip system, and nasogastric tube. Breastmilk can be supplied by a woman other than the baby's mother; either via donated pumped milk (for example from a milk bank), or when a woman nurses a child other than her own at her breast — an ancient and storied practice known as wetnursing.

The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, with solids gradually being introduced around this age when signs of readiness are shown. Supplemented breastfeeding is recommended until at least age two and then for as long as the mother and child wish. Breastfeeding continues to offer health benefits into and after toddlerhood. These benefits include a somewhat lowered risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), increased intelligence, decreased likelihood of contracting middle ear infections, cold and flu bugs, a tiny decrease in the risk of childhood leukemia, lower risk of childhood onset diabetes, decreased risk of asthma and eczema, decreased dental problems and decreased risk of obesity later in life, and may possibly include a decreased risk of developing psychological disorders, particularly in adopted children.

Breastfeeding also provides health benefits for the mother. It assists the uterus in returning to its pre-pregnancy size and reduces post-partum bleeding, as well as assisting the mother in returning to her pre-pregnancy weight. Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of breast cancer later in life.

Read more about Human Breast Milk:  Production, Composition, Storage of Expressed Breast Milk, Comparison To Other Milks, Alternative Uses For Breast Milk, Passing of Unwanted Substances, Extraordinary Consumption

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Famous quotes containing the words milk, human and/or breast:

    You cannot have power for good without having power for evil too. Even mother’s milk nourishes murderers as well as heroes.
    George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950)

    Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, which is the only fact we have.
    James Baldwin (1924–1987)

    If we could know
    Which of us, darling, would be the first to go,
    Who would be first to breast the swelling tide
    And step alone upon the other side—
    If we could know!
    Julia Harris May (1833–1912)