Human milk update

I love calling breastmilk human milk, and cow's milk bovine milk. Makes so much sense. It doesn't need to make mothers feel guilty about feeding their baby formula, as we are doing what we need to do to feed our baby: offering baby the safest milk that is readily available, even though it is from a different species. Just one little tidbit I learned at the Breastfeeding Coalition conference at OHSU. Dr. Jae Kim and Dr. Lisa Stellwagen gave multiple presentations on the use and research on our tiniest preemies and their feeding options. Here are some more of the things I learned:

The amount a 150 lb adult would have to gain to grow similarly to a preemie would average about 3lbs a day! That makes feeding a preemie essentially a nutritional emergency. (And preemie parents feel that!)

Vit D deficiency seems not just to be the vitamine de jour, but a very needed factor for pregnant moms to ensure that their baby gets a adequate amount (and even more crucial for preemies). Supplementing with Vit D is done at much higher doses in European countries with no ill effects, and it also takes weeks to build up the stores just to get back to normal when you are deficient. It is not just important for infants, but mommies too!

There are no studies reflecting the quality of diet in relation to the quality of human milk, other than the studies on fatty acids. So the kind of  fat that you eat does matter...choose the best options available.

A normal milk production is 800 mls in 24 hrs (that is just shy of 27 oz for the non metric world). However, even moms of preemies who make 300 mls can fully feed their baby, at least during their stay in the NICU (when it is most crucial).

There are 250 compounds in breastmilk, and that is just the known ones! There is a lot of research currently being done on oligosaccarides, just one  in the growing list of known compounds. For formula companies to make even a few of these in a lab somewhere and then try to market them would be in the millions, billions if they were to address all of them.