Mom's Pic Of Breast Milk Changing Color Goes Viral

Image credit: Mallory Smothers FB

Mom Posts Her Breast Milk’s Side-By-Side Pic And It Goes Viral For The Most Beautiful Reason

You know how people say breast milk is the best thing for your baby? Well, it’s most certainly true, especially when your little one falls ill. Before we get to why and how, here’s a little back-story for you. A mom called Mallory Smothers, noticed that her baby was under the weather with a cold. And, while pumping out breast milk in the evening and again the next morning, she also noticed that the milk looked a bit different. She took a picture of the milk and compared it to “regular” colored breast milk (frozen beforehand) and noticed a difference. This picture went viral, and we’re here to tell you why.

Here’s what Molly discovered:

As we mentioned, Molly had frozen some breast milk before her baby fell ill, but continued to breastfeed as normal. During this time, Molly observed that her baby was sneezing and irritable because of a cold. Then next morning, Molly pumped out breast milk, according to routine, and noted that the color of the milk was different. Notice how the difference appeared AFTER she breastfed her sick baby. Molly herself said, “the milk I produced Friday resembles colostrum (the super milk full of antibodies and leukocytes you make during the first few days after birth), and this comes after nursing the baby with a cold all night long.” Wondering how that happened? Don’t worry we were stumped ourselves. But, keep reading.

Why did the color of the breast milk change?

There’s a scientific explanation for this change in the color of breast milk. A 2013 study on Clinical and Translational Immunology investigated the relation between breast milk and cells that protect the body from infections and diseases. The results established that the cells that fight an infection increase dramatically when a mom’s body understands that her baby is unwell. A mom’s body can tell when her child is sick during nursing. For example, doctors say that “When a baby nurses, it leads to a vacuum, and the infant’s saliva sneaks into the mother’s nipple. And, the mammary gland receptors read the ‘baby’s spit backwash’, and scan for viruses and other bacteria.” If these glands detect that the baby is unwell or has an infection, a mom’s body can change the milk’s ‘immunological composition.’ This occurs so the milk can tailor itself according to the baby’s needs by creating customized antibodies. Amazing, isn’t it? The power of the human body, especially a mom’s body, is unbelievable.

In other words, the study above states that when a baby is ill, the number of leukocytes in the mother’s breast milk increases. So a mom’s breast milk, apart from providing a calorie intake, can change to suit a baby the best way possible.

This brings us to the benefits of breastfeeding:

  • Breastfeeding transfers immune factors from the mommy to her baby
  • Apart from protection from infections, breast milk also aids in the development of intestinal mucus, gut microflora (digestion purposes), and other defenses.
  • Babies who receive breast milk have a lower risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (a condition where some portions of an infant’s bowel tissues are damaged)
  • Also, children will be less susceptible to gastrointestinal, respiratory, and other infections with breast milk unlike with formula-fed babies
  • Breast milk helps a baby’s immune system through cells and biochemical components that include maternal leukocytes (white blood cells that protect you from diseases) and biomolecules with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and prebiotic activities.
  • Breast milk has a well-balanced source of amino acids
  • It promotes the growth of infants
  • The proteins available in breast milk enhance a baby’s defense and fight against unwanted pathogens.

Who knew breast milk could work in such helpful and mysterious ways? If you know of any other fabulous stories, tell us in the comments below!

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