This Amazing Discovery About Breast Milk Will Blow Your Mind

It’s a fact that breast milk is amazingly healthy for babies. This is because breast milk is more than just a source of nutrition. It contains enzymes, antibodies, stem cells, and other good stuff that is known to protect babies from disease and infections.

Not only that, but breast milk is tailor-made for babies. It changes to match a baby’s needs based on their age, how recently they’ve nursed, and how often they are nursing. It also changes in reaction to whatever viruses or bacteria a mom has encountered, producing antibodies to combat the specific infection, which then get ingested by the baby. It’s a pretty incredible phenomenon.

But it’s also a fact that not every mom can produce a full supply of milk for her baby. This is especially true for moms of premature babies who are in the NICU.

Many preemies aren’t developmentally able to nurse directly from the breast at first. Some moms are able to pump a full supply for their preemies, but many are not and the stress of having a baby in the NICU can make pumping all the more difficult.

Still, breast milk is highly recommended for premature babies, who are at much higher risk for contracting serious and life-threatening infections like necrotising enterocolitis.

As such, major health organizations like the Academy of American Pediatrics and The World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that all premature babies receive breast milk – and if the milk directly from their mothers is not available, pasteurized donor breast milk is recommended when possible.

SEE ALSO: New Research Reveals How You Can Reduce Risk Of Premature Birth

Of course, not all preemies are even able to acquire donor breast milk, but the tide seems to be changing, with more milk banks opening up all over the country, and hospitals making an effort to make sure this milk is available to moms, which is awesome.

Now, when a premature baby receives donated milk, it’s a must that it be handled carefully and fully pasteurized. Moms of older babies may decide to participate in informal milk-sharing arrangements, but only screened breast milk is recommended for preemies.

But while pasteurization, which kills 99% of bacteria, is vital, it depletes breast milk of all that “good” bacteria that protects babies from harm.

A few years ago, a team of medical researchers from the University of Florida in Gainesville, came up with a novel idea: What if we took pasteurized donor milk and added a little of a mom’s own milk to it? Would we be able to restore some of the good-for-you bacteria present in breast milk? Would we be able to “personalize” donor milk so it matches the baby’s mom’s milk?

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