types of breast milk

Types of breast milk and benefits of each

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Types of breast milk-If there is a food that can be considered the best. And most complete in the world, that is breast milk. This natural product, perfect and always ready to drink contains water, proteins, fats, minerals.And all the vitamins that the child needs, protecting it in addition to respiratory infections, ear affections, diarrhea, constipation, meningitis and allergies.

It seems incredible how the different types of breast milk that exist are adapting and changing their composition as the child grows. All this to fulfill the nutritional requirements of the baby, being able to extend its consumption up to 2 years or more.

Before delivery, in the first days after birth and in the following months, quality varies in composition, color and taste. There are several types of breast milk and all are necessary. Because they fulfill different metabolic functions.

In general, there are four stages of breast milk: preterm, colostrum, transition and mature.

Preterm milk

types of breast milk

Preterm milk is also called pre-luster. It is a discharge that occurs during the third trimester of pregnancy when you have a premature baby.

It also provides high amounts of lactoferrin. And IgA, which protect it from infections and complications.

Unicef ​​warns that all premature babies should receive preterm breast milk to strengthen the body, although those babies with very low weight should receive calcium, phosphorus and protein supplements.


In the last months of pregnancy and during the four days following childbirth, mothers produce yellowish liquid called colostrum.

Breast milk colostrum is rich in proteins, minerals and fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K. Its function is to serve as a mild laxative, toning of the digestive system and source of antibodies for the first days of the baby’s life.

The texture of the milk is thick, due to the large amount of carotenes it contains. How it contributes to the implantation in the intestine of the baby of Lactobacillus bifidus. It prevents the development of pathogens. And thanks to the enzymes that it contributes it favors the first evacuations, avoiding the yellowish color of the skin at birth.

A woman produces between 2 to 20 ml of this type of milk in each breastfeed.

Transition milk

Between the fourth and sixth day after delivery, the amount of milk produced by the mother increases considerably. The composition and color of breast milk begin a change that is known as transition milk.

Transitional milk is one of the short-lived types of breast milk: it lasts only 5 to 10 days. Up to the fifteenth day after childbirth. The mother’s breast produces the milk of transition which, in comparison with colostrum, contains more fat, lactose and water-soluble vitamins ideal for the newborn. It’s clearer than colostrum.

It also provides more calories to help the baby grow, and prepares him to receive a new level of milk texture. The mother gradually produces more of this intermediate milk, until feeding the baby with 650 ml / day.

Mature milk

Between 10 and 15 days of age, the newborn begins to suck another type of food from his mother’s breast. This phase of lactation is called feeding with mature breast milk, which is the natural composition that the baby requires for its optimal growth during the middle of the first year.

This kind of milk is of such high quality that it allows exclusively feeding the baby with it during the first 6 months, without any other food being provided. You can breastfeed until 2 years if the mother decides.

The composition of mature breast milk is 88% water, along with fats, proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. In it there are hormones, enzymes, trace elements and trace elements that promote healthy growth of the baby.

The calories of mature breast milk and the nutrients it offers are enough to meet the requirements of your metabolism, and provide 40% energy.

Lactose is the main carbohydrate that contains breast milk, which before being absorbed by the infant intestine is broken down into glucose and galactose. The carbohydrate energy of mature milk favors the development of the nervous system, facilitates the absorption of minerals and prevents infections.

While the baby sucks, the milk that comes out is light to quench the thirst, but then gets a creamier texture, due to fat, and this is what satisfies the child. Both breasts can produce between 700. And 1,200 ml / day of mature milk, during the first 6 months, and then decay to 500 ml / day.

Proteins of breast milk

In the classification of breast milk, the mature is the most complete of the list. Among its protein characteristics, it has 30% casein and 70% whey proteins.

Casein is a type of vitamin that is usually difficult to metabolize when consumed from another animal source. This is what happens with casein from cow’s milk, which is higher compared to that of human milk. This is why babies find it difficult to process it when the types of breastfeeding are replaced by artificial milk.

Whey proteins are a truly complete dairy cocktail, with abundant alpha-lactalbumin, serum albumin, immunoglobulins, beta-lactoglobulins and glycoproteins. It also contains lactoferrin, enzymes, lysozyme, growth modulators, hormones and prostaglandins. All these elements are of high biological value for the baby.

When breast milk starts to flow

types of breast milk

The stages of breast milk follow a gradual process, which begins from the first trimester of pregnancy, when the mother’s body is being prepared biologically, until the moment of the birth of the baby.

For this process to occur naturally there are two hormones that intervene: prolactin and oxytocin. Prolactin is responsible for producing milk in the mammary gland, and oxytocin intervenes in the expulsion by the nipple.

Mothers must have a lot of patience in the first suctions, since by doing so frequently, the hormonal response is stimulated and the milk will flow in greater quantity . If it alternates with the bottle, the production will decline.

It is also important that the mother is relaxed when breastfeeding, since anxiety, depression or pain when sucking can alter the production of oxytocin and prevent food from flowing.

How to conserve breast milk

All types of breast milk can be extracted and stored, in case the mother cannot breastfeed at the time.

Colostrum can be stored at room temperature (between 27-32 ° C) for 12 to 24 hours. Mature milk is stored well at 15 ° C for 24 hours , at room temperature for 4 to 8 hours, and refrigerated (0 to 4 ° C) for 5 to 8 days.

To freeze the milk, you must take into account the type of refrigerator. If the freezer is not separated, it can only be stored for 2 weeks, but if it has a separate door, the milk can be stored for 3 to 4 months. Only in the case of commercial freezers can it last 6 months or more at -19 ° C.

To defrost, the glass container, hard plastic or special bag for the storage of breast milk is immersed in warm water. The microwave must not be used to heat it.

All about types of breastfeeding

Mixed lactation occurs when the baby is fed both breast milk and infant milk. There are many reasons why a mother may decide to perform this type of breastfeeding, for example, the following:

Partial breastfeeding

According to the definition that the World Health Organization makes of partial breastfeeding, we could distinguish three different types. On the one hand, we would have high partial breastfeeding, when breast milk satisfies up to 80% of the baby’s nutritional requirements; then we would have the average, defined by an intake higher than 20% and lower than 80%.

The predominant lactation

For almost a quarter of a century, the World Health Organization has coined different definitions and classifications of breastfeeding, always depending on its combination with other foods given to the baby. One of these definitions is that of predominant lactation. This definition of breastfeeding considers breast milk as the predominant source of food for the baby, who can also drink water, fruit juices, tisanes, syrups or vitamin supplements.

Complementary lactation

The supplementary feeding is the phase that begins when exclusive feeding through breast milk stops providing little or small the nutrients needed. In accordance with what the World Health Organization establishes. This phase takes place in the period from 6 to 18 or 24 months of life.

Exclusive breastfeeding

The process of breastfeeding is not directed solely to the feeding of the child. This is a practice that helps to strengthen the bonds between the mother. And the child and also prevents possible health problems for the mother.

Care for breastfeeding women and their babies

types of breast milk

To encourage breastfeeding it is important to ensure that regular care promotes. And optimizes the normal psychological processes of milk production. There are serious problems in many countries where routine care interferes with these processes. For example separating mothers from their children, providing breast milk substitutes. And limiting feeding. This set of reviews is especially important to inform about the best practice and identify the harmful practices that should disappear.

Support for breastfeeding women

Women who are breastfeeding need skilled support, especially in societies where breastfeeding is no longer the norm. Support is necessary to prevent and treat physical problems and to build self-confidence. Often, health workers do not have the basic skills to help women to breastfeed frequently. It requires the additional help of professional workers or not with knowledge and skills in breastfeeding.

Benefit  of breast milk

During the production of breast milk, this liquid goes through different processes. In this article I describe them according to the evolution of pregnancy.

The precalostro is a liquid that forms during the third trimester of pregnancy. The breasts begin to secrete a substance formed by plasma, sodium, chlorine, immunoglobulins, lactoferrin, serum albumin and a very small amount of lactose

Something very important to clarify, is that not all secrete this liquid. It is not an important condition for breastfeeding the baby to be born. For the birth of the baby there is one of the most important foods of his life, colostrum.

Colostrum is an ideal and primordial food, since it is the first immunization of the baby. And is the ideal food that covers the alimentary needs of their gastrointestinal organs, not yet mature.

It is much denser and stickier. Because of its color, colostrum is nicknamed liquid gold. This is due to its somewhat golden color, of course it depends on the breast that produces it. Sometimes it is darker and sometimes lighter.

It is a yellowish milk, beige, and very abundant that drips many times. Most women, mature milk begins to appear almost at the end of the second week after delivery.

Best Formula Milks for Newborn Babies

If you have decided to feed your baby formula milk and still do not know what to give due to the large number of options in the market. It is important that you consult your pediatrician first. So that it is he who helps you determine the best for your little one in terms of age and nutritional needs.

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