Breastfeeding

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What is Breast Milk

The milk that your body makes for your baby is called breast milk. It is not the same as the milk of other mammals, like cows or goats. A mother's breast milk is the perfect food for her baby.

Breast milk has over 200 known ingredients which provide the best nutrition and health protection for healthy full term babies. No other food can do this.

  • The first breast milk your baby will receive in the first days following their birth is called colostrum.
  • Colostrum is yellow, thick and sticky. It provides all the nutrition a healthy, full term infant needs and is full of antibodies which help protect your baby from infections and illness.
  • Colostrum is perfectly designed to meet the needs of a newborn baby - it comes in very small amounts to suit your baby's small stomach size.
  • Within 3 to 4 days of your baby's birth, the amount of breast milk your body makes will increase. During this time women often say, "My milk has come in."
  • Mature breast milk is thinner and whiter (and sometimes even bluish) in colour.

Your breast milk changes from minute to minute, day to day, and over the course of a feeding, to meet the needs of your growing baby. It even tastes different, depending on what you eat! The breast milk your baby drinks at the beginning of a feeding is more watery, and helps to satisfy their thirst. As the feeding goes on, your milk changes, gradually becoming thicker. The breast milk your baby drinks towards the end of a feeding is higher in fat content which helps them to feel full.

To learn more about making enough breast milk for your baby and getting breastfeeding off to a good start, click here.

For more information about feeding your baby, call 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 and speak with a public health professional Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or email Your Health Connection

Page Last Modified: Thursday, 24 January 2013.