Mother’s Milk: The Best Food for Newborns

Breast milk is often recommended as the best source of nutrition for newborns by healthcare professionals. However, new mothers often wonder, what exactly makes breast milk so nourishing for newborns?

Nutritional content of breast milk for newborns

Breast milk contains a diverse array of nutrients for newborns. Here is a quick look at the different components it contains, and their benefits for newborns.

  • A source of water for newborns and maintains their hydration. 
  • Important for physical development as it is used to build, strengthen, and repair body tissues. Specific proteins (e.g. lactoferrin, lysozyme, and bifidus factor) contribute to iron transport, healthy gut flora, and the overall well-being of the newborn. 
  • Facilitates the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, acts as a primary source of energy, and supports the development of the brain, retina, and nervous system. Breast milk contains all the necessary lipids needed to support the initial six months of a newborns life. 
  • Lactose is a type of sugar and is the main carbohydrate found in breast milk. It provides newborns with another source of energy, aids the absorption of minerals (e.g. calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, etc.), and promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
  • Contains fat-soluble vitamins (e.g. A, D, E, and K) and water-soluble vitamins (C, B2, B3, and B5), and helps to safeguard newborns against nutrient deficiencies and malnutrition. It is important to note that the amount of these vitamins available in breast milk depends on the vitamin intake from the mother. 
  • Contains a range of different minerals (e.g. iron, zinc, calcium, sodium, magnesium, selenium, etc.) that contribute to building strong bones, producing red blood cells, and promoting muscle and nerve function.

Breast milk and immunity

Breast milk also enhances your baby’s immune system. After childbirth, the “first milk” (called the colostrum) is especially rich with nutrients and antibodies that help protect your baby from potentially dangerous infections. Even as your baby grows, breast milk continues to provide essential antibodies and nutrients that facilitate the growth of good bacteria, which help to lower the risk of infections.

Beyond nutrition & immunity: the other benefits of breast milk

Apart from being rich in nutrients and enhancing immunity, there are many other benefits of breast milk.

  • Self-adjusting. As your child grows and develops, so does your breast milk. It has the ability to adjust according to your child’s requirements, tailoring itself to meet their changing needs.
  • Secure food source. Breast milk is a dependable and safe source of nourishment for newborns, unaffected by factors like power availability or access to clean water.
  • Contains other beneficial components. Breast milk is known to also contain hormones which influence growth and development. It also contains enzymes which help to aid the digestion and absorption of nutrients.
  • Environmentally friendly.Breast milk does not require any packaging or transportation. It also leaves zero waste, making it an eco-friendly choice.


Breast milk is the optimal choice for feeding your newborn because it gives them the best nutrition, boosts their immune system, and comes with many other benefits. As such, it is recommended to exclusively breastfeed your baby for the first six months. After that, you can keep breastfeeding while starting complementary feeding until your child is two years old.

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