Why natural birth and breastfeeding gives your child a head start.
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Research shows that the way the birth proceeds powerfully influences the first hours and days of breast-feeding. During a vaginal delivery, bacteria colonize the infant gut, and after birth, breast milk promotes the colonization and maturation of the infant gut microbiome. This is important because it helps the infant develop a strong immune system. Breast milk is loaded with exactly the right nutrients in the exact amounts a new baby needs. Research shows that breast milk is not merely nutritious, but it contains a variety of factors with medicinal qualities that have profound roles in infant survival and health. The first fluid produced by mothers after delivery is called colostrum. Colostrum is one of the most vital ingredients in breast milk, and it’s what is often referred to as “liquid gold.” It’s a thicker, yellowish breast milk that’s made in the later stages of pregnancy. Colostrum is loaded with nutrients and antibodies to give your baby exactly what she needs in her first days of life. After three days or so, the body naturally begins to make mature milk, which contains an ideal combination of protein, sugar, water and fat. Mature breast milk contains, on average, 1.1 percent protein, 4.2 percent fat and 7 percent carbohydrate; it supplies 72 calories of energy per 100 grams. Everything your baby needs until the introduction of solids.