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Why the baby can only drink milk for the first few months

Why the baby can only drink milk for the first few months


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During pregnancy, the baby's digestive system only works partially, since it is the placenta that is responsible for delivering nutrients and eliminating waste products. However, after birth, the baby has to use its gastrointestinal tract to digest its own food, a big change for this still immature system. On our site we tell you why the baby can only drink milk for the first few months.

- Fat is the most recommended nutrient in the newborn's diet for two reasons, because it is easily assimilated by the newborn's gastrointestinal tract, and because, given the small size of their stomach, fat allows them to cover their caloric needs efficiently in small doses. Breast milk is rich in fat.

- Nevertheless, colostrum It is a milk that is richer in protein and lower in fat than mature milk, but whose nutrients are easily assimilated by the newborn. It contains easily digestible oligosaccharides and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and cholesterol, essential for the development of the central nervous system and brain tissue.

The digestion of complex carbohydrates requires the production of certain digestive enzymes that the baby will not begin to produce until approximately 6 months of age, hence the smallest carbohydrates, such as lactose in milk, are those that the baby needs to consume until then, since it digests them with the help of enzymes present in breast milk and in your own saliva.

The newborn's gastrointestinal tract is only partially developed, hence it is susceptible to infections. Any bacteria or virus that reaches the baby's mouth is able to reach his digestive system, which is poorly prepared to fight these infections.

The protective layer of the stomach and intestine, known as the intestinal mucosa, as well as the microbiota present in the intestinal villi and along the digestive tract, constitute the first line of defense against external infections in the baby, since they will be the first in combat foreign body.

As long as the baby is not able to produce its own antibodies, something that evolves as it grows, their protection depends almost exclusively on their microbiota and their mother. Bacteria present in the baby's intestine are capable of fighting infectious agents in various ways, such as by competition for the adhesion space or by secreting antimicrobial substances.

On the other hand, the newborn has received antibodies from its mother during pregnancy, and subsequently receives them through breast milk. The production of antibodies is a process that is triggered by being in contact with a foreign body and, in general, if mother and child are together, they are exposed to the same infectious agents, so that the antibodies the baby will receive will be exactly what he needs.

From birth to 6 months of age there is a dizzying evolution of the baby's digestive tract, increasing both its ability to digest and fight possible infections.

You can read more articles similar to Why the baby can only drink milk for the first few months, in the category of On-site Breastfeeding.


Video: Breastfeeding Position and Latch (November 2022).