The deeper scientists are researching about human milk, more and more they are fascinated about breast feeding benefits. Breast milk is so far the best food for a baby. Science has not been able to make an exact replica of breast milk artificially.

Here in this article we have noted down 15 reasons why breast milk is so unique. We will discuss how it promotes growth and development of brain, eye and other tissues. We will find out what kind of nutrients and immunity boosters it has. 

We will also uncover which future diseases are less likely in breast fed babies. Keep reading to find out these answers. 


Breast milk is the best in terms of nutrition. And the finest out of all breast milk is the one produced during first ‘3 days’ after delivery. This milk is called as “colostrum”. It is so valuable for a baby that, it is otherwise called as “liquid gold”.

Stages of Lactation

There are 3 specific types of breast milk produced at different stages of lactation. These are stated below.

It is the breast milk secreted in first 3 days 

Mother’s milk between day 4 to 14 after delivery.

Breast milk after > 14 days of birth

Human breast  milk can be digested easily by immature gut of a baby. This milk is packed with not only macronutrients like fat, protein and carbohydrate, but also micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. Breast feeding benefits in terms of nutrients are listed below.

  • Breast milk has carbohydrates chiefly in form of lactose, which accounts for around 7 gm of per 100 ml. As lactose concentration is more in human milk compared to any other milk, it is sweeter in taste. 
  • Breast milk has proteins in form of whey protein and casein. Protein concentration here is about 1.1 gm per 100 ml. Breast milk proteins are hands down the most smoothly digestible proteins compared to any other milk.
  • Primary forms of fat here are fatty acids like palmitic acid, oleic acids and PUFA ( polyunsaturated fatty acids ). Fat concentration is almost 3.5 gm per 100 ml. ‘Hind milk’ contains more fat compared to ‘fore milk’.  Fat is a fairly rich source of energy. Furthermore it has various other functions like immune function and nerve maturation etc. 

Micronutrients in breast milk depend to a great extent on mother’s diet. For instance pure vegan and vegetarian mothers lack vitamin B 12 in milk. This puts a baby at risk of vitamin b 12 deficiency diseases and symptoms early in life. 

Lactating mother taking requisite nutrition, has sufficient vitamins and minerals in breast milk, baring vitamin D and vitamin K. A breast feeding baby needs to be supplemented for these vitamins. 

A baby delivered at term ( at appropriate time ) and having ideal birth weight has enough store of iron. Here breast milk is sufficient enough to meet its demand. But a preterm baby or a low birth weight baby may need iron supplement. 


One of the most practical breast feeding benefits is this milk is for all, be it poor or rich. As compared to formula milk, which is too high-priced, breast milk is for free.


Breast milk is the most readily available milk out there. There is no need to carry water and container to prepare this milk. 


Unlike formula milk or any other milk which needs to be kept in sterile container, breast milk doesn’t need it. Baby consumes it directly from mother, and that is why it is so much safe in terms of hygiene. 

Nipple care –

Mother need not wash nipple with soap water every time before feed. Washing nipple with just normal water while taking bath is sufficing.

Nevertheless wash your hand mandatorily every-time after nappy change or after handling urine and soiled clothes etc. 


Breast milk is naturally available in appropriate body temperature. It necessitates no further cooling or heating. 

Important note –

Repeated cooling and heating depletes nutritional value of human milk. 


Initial part of milk that exudes during feeding of a baby is called ‘fore milk’. It is thin, watery, bluish grey in colour and rich in carbohydrates. This is to quench thirst of baby.

The later part of milk i.e. ‘hind milk’ is thicker, creamy white in texture and loaded in fat. That is why it is more energy dense and satisfies hunger of baby. 

How autoregulation of milk flow happens is interesting. In foremilk there is a substance called ‘Ghrelin’. This heightens appetite and baby becomes more and more hungry. 


In hind milk there is no Ghrelin. So the baby is more satisfied after hind milk, and hunger is remitted. 


Breast feeding has a soothing effect on baby. When baby comes out of home into some other location, breast feeding helps to calm baby down. 

All in all breast feeding benefits both mother and baby by forming a strong emotional connection between them. 


Breast milk has immune cells like macrophages and lymphocytes. Inherently these are  white blood cells which destroy disease causing bacteria. 

Also breast milk is rich in a type of antibody ( immunoglobulin) called secretory IgA. Additionally bio-active compounds like lysozyme, lactoferrin etc, are also present in human milk, which kill pathogenic germs as well. 


Hence breast milk gives immunity to fight against common infections like cough – cold, diarrhoea, ear infection etc. It even prevents life threatening infections like pneumonia, meningitis too. 

In premature babies there is a type of infection of bowel which is potentially life threatening. This is called as NEC ( necrotising entero colitis ). Breast milk fed babies are less likely to fall prey to NEC. 


Important note :

Colostrum is a special milk secreted within first 3 days following delivery. It is an ultimate source of antibodies and white blood cells. Colostrum is the best food to boost immunity for a baby. 


As we know already breast milk has protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals etc. It has absolutely all the nutrients intended for optimal growth of a baby, both in terms of weight and length. 

Human milk has bioactive molecules like insulin like growth factor that promotes growth of tissues and bones. On top of that, as breast feeding benefits by preventing respiratory and gut infection, as well as frequent hospitalisation, it indirectly adds to growth.


DHA – docosahexaenoic acid & ARA – arachidonic acid, are two fatty acids. These help in development of neurons or brain. Artificial milk these days are also fortified with DHA. Howbeit, breast milk DHA is still far superior

Fat in breast milk is of benefit for developing healthy eye of a baby.


Human beings have beneficial gut bacteria. This gut microflora is different for babies taking breast milk versus babies on formula milk. 

Studies have proven that breast feeding benefits, as it is one of the factors that promote healthier gut microbes, which in turn help to counter bad pathogenic bacteria. 



Breast milk has a factor called “epidermal growth factor”. This helps out to regenerate gut epithelium ( inner layer of intestine ) and keep it healthy.


Breast milk is naturally customised from a mother for her baby. For instance for a baby born prematurely, breast milk composition of mother is such that it favours growth of preterm.

Also as a baby grows further, composition of breast milk reforms to meet its demand and need.


A child who is on breast milk is less likely to suffer from metabolic diseases like diabetes, obesity and hypertension later in future, compared to a baby who is on formula. 


Also a breast fed baby has less chances of incurring childhood asthma and atopic dermatitis ( skin allergy ), later in life.


Breast milk also prevents SIDS ( Sudden Infant Death Syndrome ). It is a condition where a healthy infant dies a-sudden without any evident explainable cause. 


Breast feeding also fences a baby against leukaemia in future. 


Each passing day researchers are finding something new and unique about breast milk. It has many biological factors yet to be discovered. 

You can say that if there are 100 likely problems in a baby, then breast feed is the single best solution to them. 

Share your thoughts and questions on breast milk benefits here in comment section. Forward this article to new parents, especially new mothers who are yet ignorant. 


All the informations provided here are for educational and awareness purpose only. Kindly do not use these as alternative to medical consultation.

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