In this brief guide, we will discuss the following question, “does breast milk taste good?” and other queries related to this topic.
Does breast milk taste good?
Yes, breast milk tastes good because it has a slightly sweet taste that resembles the taste of cow’s milk or sweetened almond milk. Moreover, the breast milk’s composition changes over time, and thus the taste.
The composition of milk present in the breast before delivery and at delivery is completely different from the milk present after a few days from delivery.
Right after birth and for several days following the delivery, the milk present in the breast is called colostrum.
This milk is high in protein and immunoglobulin and low in lactose and fat. Since it is low in lactose, the milk at this stage has a salty taste. Lactose is a sugar present in milk but less sweet than sucrose and other sugar types,
After a few weeks, colostrum milk is replaced by mature milk that is higher in lactose and has a sweeter taste when compared to colostrum milk. Also, mature milk is richer in fat which gives it a creamy texture
However, the taste of breast milk changes depending on the mother’s diet and the food ingested before several hours of breastfeeding. Exposing your child to different tastes will facilitate its acceptance of food when introduced after 6 months.
Furthermore, breast milk smells like cow’s milk but since it contains lactose it has a sweet smell also. Hence, improperly pumped and stored milk or frozen breast milk will have a sour smell like cow’s milk due to the high lipase concentration in the breast milk.
What’s in breast milk?
Breast milk contains all macronutrients and micronutrients needed for the baby’s proper growth. It is composed of fat, protein, carbohydrates, water, minerals, and vitamins but in different proportions.
Breast milk’s major ingredient is water which consists 87% of the milk and the remaining 13% is divided between 7% carbohydrates, 4% lipids, 1% proteins, and 1% for minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamins. However, this composition will change according to the baby’s needs and age.
Moreover, breast milk contains enzymes that help in the digestion of the milk components, along with antibodies that reduce illness and infection risk in newborns and hormones that ensure the proper connection between organs.
What are the benefits of breast milk?
Breast milk is the optimal food for newborns because it contains immunoglobulins and antibodies that protect the baby from different infections and stimulate the maturation of its immune system. By having a strong immunity babies will be less prone to developing ear infections and respiratory illnesses like pneumonia.
Moreover, breastfed babies are at a lower rate of sudden mortality and lower risk of having diarrhea, constipation, gastroesophageal reflux, abdominal crampings, and other gastrointestinal complications. Also, due to the presence of some growth factors and hormones, breast milk promotes organ development and maturation.
Furthermore, lactobacillus bacteria in breast milk are beneficial in the formation of the gut microbiome in babies.
Breastfeeding is not only beneficial for the health and the development of the baby but also it is advantageous for the mother. Breastfeeding stimulates oxytocin secretion which helps the uterus to return to its normal size, decreases the risk of hemorrhage after delivery, and reduces stress. Also, breastfeeding helps in weight loss after birth because it stimulates calorie burning.
Moreover, it decreases the risk of the mother developing ovarian and breast cancer later in life.
What does affect the taste of breast milk?
Along with the change in the milk composition and thus the taste, many other factors that affect the taste of breast milk:
- Exercise and strenuous physical activity lead to lactic acid production which can affect the taste of your milk. Physical activity is very important, so be active and do some light and moderate exercises like walking, bicycling, and yoga.
- Medications such as hypertension medicines, antihistamines, and diuretics affect the taste and the color of the milk.
- Alcohol affects the taste of the milk. The mother should wait at least 2 hours before breastfeeding. Alcohol can pass through your milk and will affect the brain development of your baby.
- Smoking can change the taste and the smell of your milk. However, if you smoke after breastfeeding and you wait for at least 2 hours before the second breastfeeding, you reduce the risk of taste alteration.
- Some food types such as garlic, onions, spices, coffee, and cruciferous vegetables.
- Storage. How you store your pumped breast milk affects its taste and smell. Pumped breast milk can sit for 4 hours at room temperature and 3 days in the refrigerator. However, you might notice that it will separate into 2 phases and it is normal because the cream will rise to the top of the bottle.
- Freezing and thawing. If you put your pumped milk at room temperature or in the refrigerator before freezing it, lipase will degrade the fat in milk and make it taste sour. However, it is not harmful to your baby.
In this brief guide, we discussed the following question, “does breast milk taste good?” and other queries related to this topic.