Breast Milk Changes Throughout the Day

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“Slept like a baby” may hold even more truth than thought, especially if the baby just consumed some breast milk, according to the following press release issued today by Plataforma SINC:

The levels of the components in breast milk change every 24 hours in

response to the needs of the baby. A new study published in the journal

Nutritional Neuroscience shows, for example, how this milk could help

newborn babies to sleep.

Breast milk contains various

ingredients, such as nucleotides, which perform a very important role

in regulating babies’ sleep. The new study, published recently in the

journal Nutritional Neuroscience, confirms that the composition of

breast milk changes quite markedly throughout the day.

(Image: SINC)

The

scientists looked for three nucleotides in breast milk (adenosine,

guanosine and uridine), which excite or relax the central nervous

system, promoting restfulness and sleep, and observed how these varied

throughout a 24-hour period.

The milk, collected from 30 women

living in Extremadura, was expressed over a 24-hour period, with six to

eight daily samples. The highest nucleotide concentrations were found

in the night-time samples (8pm to 8am).

“This made us realise

that milk induces sleep in babies”, Cristina L. Sánchez, lead author of

the article and a researcher at the Chrononutrition Laboratory at the

University of Extremadura, tells SINC.

“You wouldn’t give

anyone a coffee at night, and the same is true of milk – it has

day-specific ingredients that stimulate activity in the infant, and

other night-time components that help the baby to rest”, explains

Sánchez.

In order to ensure correct nutrition, the baby should

be given milk at the same time of day that it was expressed from the

mother’s breast. “It is a mistake for the mother to express the milk at

a certain time and then store it and feed it to the baby at a different

time”, points out the researcher. .

The benefits of breast milk

The

World Health Organisation (WHO) says breast milk is the best food for

the newborn, and should not be substituted, since it meets all the

child’s physiological requirements during the first six months of life.

It not only protects the baby against many illnesses such as colds,

diarrhoea and sudden infant death syndrome, but can also prevent future

diseases such as asthma, allergies and obesity, and promotes

intellectual development.

The benefits of breastfeeding also

extend to the mother. Women who breastfeed lose the weight gained

during pregnancy more quickly, and it also helps prevent against

anaemia, high blood pressure and postnatal depression. Osteoporosis and

breast cancer are also less common among women who breastfeed their

children.

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