Nutritional aspects of breast milk - Nutrition

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Nutrition in children

Breastfeeding Second and third infancy
  • Feeding time
  • weaning
  • Second and third childhood

Nutritional aspects of breast milk

Breast milk is the ideal food as it constantly adapts to the rapidly changing needs of the different moments of the infant's life; its composition varies from woman to woman, from breastfeeding to breastfeeding and also within the breastfeeding itself. Preterm milk is richer in fat and protein and has a lower carbohydrate content than that of full-term women. The composition varies in the first days of the newborn's life passing from the colostrum phase (up to the fifth day of life), to the transition milk phase (fifth-tenth day of life), to that of the definitive milk (after the tenth day) . Colostrum is a yellowish liquid, produced in relatively low quantities, rich in proteins and minerals, with a high antibody content. Mature milk, on the other hand, shows a higher lipid and carbohydrate content. The protein content, higher in the early stages of lactation and progressively reduced thereafter, is the lowest among mammals (clearly lower than cow's, goat's and donkey's milk) and is qualitatively different. The main protein constituents of breast milk are a-lactalbumin and lactoferrin, with a casein / serum protein ratio of 40/60 against 80/20 of cow's milk; other fundamental protein constituents are immunoglobulins and lysozyme, fundamental for the defensive activity against pathogens. Lipids are the component subject to a greater degree of inter- and intra-individual variability; in fact they vary between nurse and nurse but also between one feed and the other; they also vary over the same feed, being more scarce at the beginning and more abundant at the end. They are mainly represented by triglycerides, to a lesser extent by cholesterol, phospholipids and free fatty acids. As for the carbohydrate component, the main sugar of breast milk is lactose; there are also glucose, glycoproteins, glycoprotides and oligosaccharides. Other fundamental constituents are vitamins, minerals and, to a lesser extent, enzymes and hormones. The content of vitamins varies significantly according to the nutritional status of the mother: serious deficiencies can lead to significant defects in the vitamin content. In particular, vitamin D is found in variable quantities depending on the mother's inke and may be insufficient in the milk of vegetarian women, increasing the risk of rickets in the baby. Iron is contained in modest quantities, but is characterized by a high bioavailability.

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