As if breast milk wasn’t already
magical scientifically superior enough, I just read an article from 2009 that demonstrates its awesomeness further. Turns out there’s yet another function (though possibly an incidental one) of breast milk that my daughter missed out on when she was drinking formula.
A study published in Nutritional Neuroscience said they found that breast milk contains various ingredients, such as nucleotides, which help regulate babies’ sleep. The study said that because of this, when women pump their breast milk, they should try to have the baby fed milk at the same time of day as when it was first expressed. The composition of breast milk changes, apparently, quite markedly throughout the day.
The scientists examined three nucleotides in breast milk (adenosine, guanosine and uridine) and observed how they varied over a 24 hour period. These three nucleotides either excite or relax the central nervous system. It’s as though the breastmilk is helping the children fall asleep, not just from a full tummy, comfort and warmth, but from actual chemical make-up.
I am amused, thinking of marking the time down on a bag of expressed breast milk just because it reminds me of expiration times on the fried chicken when I worked at a deli as a teenager. I have to assume though, if paying attention to times marked on the bag of expressed breast milk helped a baby have a more pleasant day, I can’t imagine a day care, babysitter, or Grandma who wouldn’t be willing to pay attention.
I also wonder if that same concept could be used to help a baby rest before a car ride or doctors visit though as well. Oh, I know, that’s not its purpose, but armed with this kind of info-ammo, can you honestly say you wouldn’t be the least bit tempted to try feeding a 10PM bag of milk at 4PM if it meant a more relaxing visit to the pediatrician?
What do you think? How many of you were already wise to this? If you were, do you ever use it to your advantage to relax the baby during a stressful event?