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Monday, January 24, 2011

The Magic of Breastmilk

Last week, an almost-toddler nursing mom raised formula/pediatrician concern with me. Her son who is turning 1 at the end of January came from his last pediatrician's check-up. According to the pediatrician, her son did not gain weight since September but had above-average weight for his age group. Her son also increased in height. Her pediatrician told her that her milk was no longer nutritious and that she had to supplement with formula. I was appalled by the doctor's comment. I had thought that they at least studied the composition of breastmilk during medical school but apparently, I was mistaken! And even worse - I guess they didn't take up breastfeeding or breastmilk either during their specialization in pediatrics!
Kellymom has a comprehensive compilation on the composition of breastmilk. Tanya over at Motherwear blog recently posted the composition of donor's milk. The Attachment Parenting Blog also has a detailed post on the composition of mature milk. I wish I could print out all these notes and articles and give it to the doubting pediatrician.
Further, not only does breastmilk change while the baby grows but even during the feeding session itself, breastmilk changes in contents from skim (foremilk) to fatty (hindmilk) and likewise, throughout the day as it was found that the milk has day-specific ingredients that stimulate activity in the infant, and other night-time components that help baby to rest.
But for me, a top benefit is that my breastmilk is composed of a variety of tastes, depending on the food I ate just before nursing. In November 2010, I came across this article about how exposure to flavors takes place both in utero and through breastfeeding. While pregnant and breastfeeding, I tried to keep a healthy diet by refusing softdrinks and sweets (must not have worked as Naima is such as sweet tooth like her dad!!). I'd like to think that my continuous eating of vegetables contributed to Naima's easy acceptance of new foods in her diet. We started her on solids shortly after she turned 6 months beginning with avocado. Her yaya kept track of her intake for the first year which I'm sharing as a slideshow below. Looking back, I'm quite happy that her yayas were dedicated in trying new recipes and checking out the baby food cookbooks I had for Naima.
From simple, single dishes, Naima's palate has expanded to a variety of cuisines - Japanese, Chinese, Western and even raw food! Check out her meals below:

All thanks for breastmilk (oh and an inspired cook!)! :)

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