Topic: Mother's milk

Mother’s Milk Compensates for Smaller Neonates

Mother's Milk Compensates for Smaller Neonates

The placenta and the mammary gland may be separate organs, but they are better viewed as part of a coordinated team, charged with transferring nutrients, immune factors, and other bioactive components to the developing offspring. The placenta manages the first 40 weeks, but if the baby is born prematurely (<37 weeks gestation), the mammary gland works overtime to produce milk with higher concentrations of components that should have come from the placenta. Read More...

Human Milk Sharing: Evolutionary Insights and Modern Risks

Human Milk Sharing: Evolutionary Insights and Modern Risks

Allomaternal nursing, the practice of infants suckling from a female not their mother, takes many forms. This behavior is not unique to humans and is widespread among mammalian species. Allomaternal nursing is thought to increase the fitness of females and infants, which would be favored by natural selection, but little research effort is directed to the topic. More recently, modern technologies of plastic containers, cold storage, and rapid shipping have created opportunities for milk sharing and milk selling widely among women. Some researchers and clinicians consider this unregulated trade of human milk a cause for concern--especially the risk of disease and toxin transmission to developing babies. Before that, though, let’s consider allomaternal nursing through historical, cultural, and evolutionary perspectives. Read More...