subject: breast milk

The Bitterness of the Maternal Diet Influences the Bitterness of Human Milk

The Bitterness of the Maternal Diet Influences the Bitterness of Human Milk

Human milk is known to provide a variety of nutrients that aid infants’ growth and development and are beneficial to their health. But as children grow a little older, they often don’t meet recommended dietary guidelines, particularly when it comes to eating enough fruits and vegetables. Read More...

New Milk Biomarkers Predict Preterm Infant Growth

New Milk Biomarkers Predict Preterm Infant Growth

A current trend in the marketing of healthy foods and drinks is highlighting a product’s short ingredient list; the less “stuff” in a food, the healthier it must be, right? This may be true for energy bars or fruit juices, but when it comes to human milk, a long list of ingredients is precisely what makes it optimal for infant health. Over the last decade, as the health food aisle has increased in so-called simple and clean foods, human milk’s ingredient list just keeps getting more complicated. Innovations in analytical tools have led to more in-depth studies detailing the specific types of fats, amino acids, sugars, and other metabolites present in human milk. Creating milk “–omes”—specifically, the milk metabolome, glycome, and lipidome—complicates human milk research in the best possible way, opening the door to identifying specific milk components that influence infant growth and development. Read More...

Feeding the Preterm Infant: Fresh or Processed Breastmilk?

Feeding the Preterm Infant: Fresh or Processed Breastmilk?

This is the million-dollar question when it comes to feeding those infants that are born the most vulnerable. Preterm infants are entirely dependent for their survival on the level of medical care offered to them. Amongst the important decisions to be made by health professionals as to how a baby born preterm will survive is how and what this baby will be fed. Currently, the standard practice in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is to feed preterm babies frozen mother’s own milk, pasteurized donor milk and/or formula, depending on what is available. However, a ground-breaking study by Sun and colleagues has now challenged this well-accepted but poorly researched dogma, showing that fresh mother’s own milk (non-refrigerated, non-frozen, completely unprocessed) is the most beneficial for the preterm baby, just as it is for the term baby. Read More...

Maternal Probiotic Consumption Affects the Oligosaccharides in Mother’s Milk

Maternal Probiotic Consumption Affects the Oligosaccharides in Mother’s Milk

These days, the health-giving properties of human milk oligosaccharides, or HMOs, are much appreciated. The medium-length sugars, which are the most common component of human milk after water, lactose and lipids, are not metabolized by infants. Instead, they have diverse non-nutritive roles, such as protecting infants against invading microbes, and encouraging the proper development of the growing gut. It is well established that different women secrete different collections of HMOs in their milk, and until very recently, genetics was understood to hold complete sway over this, dictating the various types and relative amounts of the various HMOs that a woman produces. In a recent issue of JAMA Pediatrics, however, Antti E. Seppo of the University of Rochester Medical Center, in New York, and his colleagues, report that women who consumed probiotics have altered blends of HMOs in their milk. Read More...

Infants Gain More Weight When Bottle Fed Mom’s Milk

Infants Gain More Weight When Bottle Fed Mom’s Milk

If you want to understand how an infant’s diet influences its health, you might ask, “What did the infant eat?” But the results of a new study on infant diet and weight gain suggest that this simple question is no longer sufficient; in addition to asking what, we need to be asking how, and for how long. Newly published results from over 2,500 mother-infant pairs demonstrate that the longer a mother is able to directly provide breast milk, the more closely the infant’s rate of weight gain over the first 12 months of life matches the World Health Organization’s (WHO) standards. Considering the prevalence of pumping among many breastfeeding mothers, these novel findings shouldn’t be reported without consideration of the many positive outcomes associated with feeding expressed breast milk. Read More...

Even to the Brain: Yes, Breastmilk Stem Cells Do Transfer to Organs of Offspring

Even to the Brain: Yes, Breastmilk Stem Cells Do Transfer to Organs of Offspring

What would you think if you were told that your baby is part of your body? Literally. Or that you are actually part of your baby’s body? Yes, literally. As much as it sounds more of an emotional expression of love between the mother and her baby, some of the cells that contain all our genetic information (not half) are indeed exchanged between the mother and her baby, remaining alive and active in each other’s bodies for at least…decades. And although this reciprocally occurs during pregnancy via the placenta, it also continues to a large extent during breastfeeding. After all, as Barinaga beautifully exclaimed in 2002, mother’s love is enduring. Read More...

Milk is Alive with Mom’s Cells

Milk is Alive with Mom’s Cells

Surprises upturn accepted routines and demonstrate how little we really know. A new class of immune cell type, innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), was recently and unexpectedly discovered in fresh breast milk, and it promises to radically alter scientists’ understanding of how milk protects babies from infections, and possibly much more. The ground-breaking scientific paper [1] describing this discovery was recently published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association - Paediatrics by Babak Baban and three colleagues from Augusta University. The paper has the modest but revealing title “Presence and Profile of Innate Lymphoid Cells in Human Breast Milk.” Read More...

The Woman Helping Military Moms Breastfeed

The Woman Helping Military Moms Breastfeed

Back in the 1990s, when she had her first child, Robyn Roche-Paull was an aircraft mechanic in the United States Navy. She knew she wanted to breastfeed as long as possible, but her maternity leave was six weeks long, and then, in theory, she could be deployed to any part of the world. At that time, there was no military policy to facilitate pumping at her workplace, though she persevered. She would pump in the supply closet or the bathroom. “It was very, very difficult. The outlet I needed to plug my pump in was right by the bathroom door, and people would come in an out all the time—so the door was always opening to the hallway, with me standing right there,” she explains. Read More...

Fresh or Frozen: The Facts about Freezing Milk

Fresh or Frozen: The Facts about Freezing Milk

The first thing that comes to mind when many people think about freezing milk is ice cream. Ice cream, frozen yogurt, and custards are all sweet treats that are notable for their creamy consistency. Yet milk that has been frozen sometimes seems less appealing once it’s brought back to a liquid state. Though some might not prefer milk that has been previously frozen, the ability to freeze and store milk and dairy products can be a safe and economical way to provide beneficial nutrition that people need. Likewise, the ability to keep human milk frozen for one’s own child helps families around the world every day. A common concern about freezing milk—whether produced by human or cow—is whether nutrients are lost in the process. So what, exactly, happens when we freeze milk? Read More...

Colostrum Through a Cultural Lens

Colostrum Through a Cultural Lens

In the first hours and days after a human baby is born, mothers aren't producing the white biofluid that typically comes to mind when we think about milk. They synthesize a yellowish milk known as colostrum or "pre-milk." Colostrum is the first substance human infants are adapted to consume, and despite being low in fat, colostrum plays many roles in the developing neonate. Historically and cross-culturally, colostrum was viewed very differently than it is amongst industrialized populations today. Read More...

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