I wrote an slightly different post this morning but in my early morning haze, I realized that I was mixing up my sources and facts. So here is the revised (and corrected) version!
Breast milk is an amazing thing and something we may not ever fully understand because its mysteries are infinite. The properties of its makeup can be dissected and broken apart, but there is an uncountable number of connections and interactions between the properties themselves and things that we cannot see that it would be almost impossible to fully unravel. It’s a whole food that has evolved specifically for the purpose of nourishing a baby.
Just like if you took an apple and broke it apart into only the seemingly beneficial ingredients, it would never have the same nutritional impact as the whole apple itself because there are so many connections that we can’t see.
A great example that I came across that shows that we are still learning about all the benefits of breast milk was in a small section of another article I just read by Michael Pollan. He writes about how for years researchers have tried to unravel the mystery of breast milk. In their breakdown of the makeup of breastmilk, they found it contained a complex carbohydrate that babies were in fact unable to digest. Without any apparent benefit to the baby, these complex carbohydrates weren’t taken into account until recently.
Upon further research, it turns out that there is actually a very good reason for the existence of this particular property and the baby’s inability to digest it. It is a very important aspect of a baby’s development. This component was undigested by the baby so it could be a source of food for a certain type of bacteria that helps to keep the baby healthy and to promote the development of the intestinal lining.
When it comes to Nature – there are reasons for everything!
P.S. And, as always, this post is coming from a point of love and support for those Mamas who are thinking about nursing, are currently breastfeeding, or have in the past and want to encourage others to give it a shot. In no way am I trying to discourage or make anyone feel bad about the decision they made/make. Either way, I SUPPORT YOU.