You have probably heard that breast milk is amazing. Doctors, nutritionists, magazines, blogs and even strangers love to inform a pregnant woman of all the millions of benefits of breastfeeding, which, by the way, has been confirmed by many scientific researches.
The funny thing is that, despite all this, scholars are still trying to understand exactly how this magical liquid works.
No one discusses the nutritional value of breast milk. It is a fact given that he has everything his baby needs in the early years of life. Neither water is needed to give a newborn, as breast milk hydrates.
However, breastfeeding is more than a food: it can be a potent medicine and a powerful means of communication between mothers and their babies.
How, you ask? Apparently, the baby's immune system actually talks to the mother's through the nipples.
None of this is surprising, as women have been developing this system for 300 million years.
Did you know that your milk slowly adapts to your baby's needs, "recalibrating" its composition to take into account its age and even outside temperature (in a warmer climate, it adds more water to hydrate your baby more effectively, for example). example)?
Yeah, breast milk is a very complex thing. Angela Garbes's article on The Stranger helps us understand a little better how he acts. Garbes interviewed Katie Hinde, an evolutionary biologist who has a blog about breastfeeding.
According to Hinde, when a baby suckles on its mother's chest, a "vacuum" is created. Within this vacuum, the baby's saliva is sucked into the mother's nipple, where the receptors in its mammary gland read its signals.
Saliva contains information about the immune status of the baby. Everything scientists know about physiology indicates that this saliva exchange is one of the things that breast milk uses to adjust its immune composition. If receptors in the mammary gland detect the presence of pathogens, they make the mother's body produce antibodies to fight it, and these antibodies travel through breast milk back to the baby's body, protecting it, for example, from infections.
As you can imagine, for this and many other reasons, breast milk is of great interest to scientists in areas such as microbiology and food chemistry.
When we understand how breastfeeding works, its full benefits are even more evident. Since its nutritional and immunological components change every day according to a child's individual specific needs, it is no wonder that breast milk is given all sorts of advantages, including a higher IQ and lower obesity rate.