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Have You Ever Wondered – How Many Calories In An Ounce of Breast Milk?

how-many-calories-in-an-ounce-of-breast-milk

If you have just delivered a baby (or are going to deliver one soon), one of the top things occupying your mind would be breastfeeding. Everyone who meets you, from your mother in law to the neighbor next door, will be giving you advice on breastfeeding, whether you want it or not!

A number of questions pop up in your mind:     

​So I know whether my infant will be satisfied with the amount of breastmilk I give him or her?

Research studies indicate that breastfeeding helps a child’s development in a number of ways. Pediatricians recommend exclusive breastfeeding for about six months of a child’s life, followed by breastfeeding in combination with the introduction of complementary foods, and suggest continuing to breastfeed the child as long as desired by the child and the mother.

What is The Composition of Breastmilk?

Human breastmilk, is perhaps, the most complex breastmilk among all mammals. Breastmilk contains about 200 different sugar molecules and the role of each of these sugars is different.

Breast milk contains several nutrients including proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, trace elements, as well as non-nutritional (but extremely important) components like antimicrobial factors, digestive enzymes, hormones among others, necessary for growth.

Infants are born without any bacteria in their guts, but within weeks, they develop billions of bacteria mainly from the sugars which come from the breast milk. In fact, science has proven that human breastmilk helps lay the foundation for a baby’s immune system.

How Many Calories in an Ounce of Breastmilk?

The average calorie content of human milk is 22 kcal/ounce. The amount of fat in the breastmilk changes during each feed and depends on the emptiness of the breast. Research indicates that the average fat content of the human milk is 1.2 grams per ounce.

What Is Colostrum?

In the first few days, after delivery, colostrum (the first breast milk), which is a thin yellowish fluid rich in proteins and antibodies, is produced. This fluid may leak from the breasts during pregnancy for some women.

Colostrum helps increase the immunity of the baby’s digestive system. The digestive system of a newborn is very immature and the colostrum helps to deliver nutrients into the body in a very concentrated low-volume form.

Colostrum is very rich in proteins, Vitamin A, sodium chloride and usually has a lower amount of carbohydrates, fats, and potassium as compared to mature milk.

What All Does Breastmilk Contain?

The colostrum changes to mature milk which is thicker and creamier, after a few days. As the baby continues to feed on breast milk, the milk becomes fattier over time.

Breastmilk is like a complete meal for an infant, containing all the necessary nutrients needed for a child’s development.

The levels of Immunoglobulin A are very high in breast milk, from day 10 to 7.5 months after delivery of the baby. The milk is a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and minerals.

The carbohydrates mainly are present in the form of lactose, while fats are mainly triglycerides of palmitic and oleic acid. Fats are also present in the form of lipids, with vaccenic acid and conjugated linoleic acid making up about 6 percent of the fat.

Breast milk also contains proteins like immunoglobulin A, lactoferrin, lysozyme, alpha-lactalbumin, and serum albumin which help build immunity in a child. Breast milk also has certain elements which help regulate an infant’s appetite.

An analysis of breastmilk is indicated in the table below:

components-in-breast-milk

How Can I Boost My Breastmilk Production?

When you are breastfeeding, it is important to ensure that you eat the right kind of food as well as drink ample amount of water, so that you can ensure an adequate supply of breastmilk.

Products which help increase milk supply on known as galactagogues and these include fenugreek, blessed thistle, alfalfa, oats, garlic, sesame seeds as well as nuts.

Pumping Breastmilk

Often, situations may demand that you may have to pump out your milk and store the breastmilk instead of directly feeding the infant. Reasons for pumping may vary, from a mother getting back to work after a baby, or the baby not being able to suck directly, or the baby may be premature and needs to be fed via a bottle instead of latching on.

Expressing breastmilk is definitely more difficult that having an infant latch on to your breast, but with a little practice and help of breast pumps, it can be accomplished easily. The more the milk you take out of your breasts, the more milk you make.

An important factor in making milk is the let-down reflex, which causes the milk to be released from the milk glands. It is very important while expressing milk, to let this let-down reflex work, by relaxing, thinking about your baby, massaging your breasts in a smooth motion, and sitting in a comfortable position. The most important part is to relax completely and then start expressing milk.

There are many products which help in the pumping of breast milk. Some of the better-known brands include Medela, Philips Avent, Lansinoh Affinity, and Evenflo. There is even a hands-free pump available now, called Freemie.

One of the important thing to remember is that breastmilk can be stored for a period of up to 12 months in a freezer at 4 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

Advantages of Breastfeeding - For The Infant

There are several advantages of breastfeeding your infant. Some of them include:

  • Breastfeeding provides the ideal nutrients for infants and is nearly a perfect mix of vitamins, proteins, and fats.
  • Breastfed babies have few ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea.
  • ​Breastfed babies are likely to have better natural immunity against diseases as compared to non-breastfed babies.
  • ​Breastfeeding is linked to higher IQ scores as per some studies.
  • ​Breastfed infants are more likely to gain the right amount of weight as they grow older.
  • Breastfeeding helps to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

In short, it is evident that breastfeeding is very important for a child’s development and breastfed children often have the advantage of better immunity compared to children who are not breastfed.

Whether you decide to feed your child directly or breastfeed by pumping, remember that breastfeeding needs you to be relaxed and enjoy the experience.

It is obvious that a new mom will be nervous about the whole act of breastfeeding, but the sooner you relax and enjoy the process, the easier it will be for the baby and you. And after all, as parents, we want the best for our kids, don’t we?

Do you have any queries on breastmilk? Is there anything you want to add about calories in breast milk? Do let us know in the comments section and we would love to discuss this with you!

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Hi! I’m Serena. The first time that I knew the term “being mommy” was fantastic and unforgettable. It brought me a lot of changes in my body, my habit, my feeling and my whole life. I started Kittymoms in order to share my knowledge and experience to those who are first-time mommies and who have a long time to be back to mom's work, all who need to search advice during the time taking care of their babies.
  1. Pingback: How to Select the Best Bottle Warmer for Breast Milk | Kath's Blog

    1. Breast milk is excellent, it contains many nutrients and enhances the resistance. I nurse my child up to 2 years of age.

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