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Healthy Mother and Baby

During his or her first days of life, your baby needs the right concentrated food to make up for the weight lost after birth.
However, physiological weight loss is normal in newborn infants. Over the next few months, your baby will continue to live on mother's milk, so be sure to eat right and take care of your health.

The ideal food in the first few days of a newborn's life is called colostrum. Your breasts probably began to produce colostrum during the last months of pregnancy, and certainly in the first few days after the birth. This first milk is yellowish in color due to its high carotene content. It contains many proteins, mineral salts, and zinc, and in comparison to later milk is relatively low in fats, sugars, and casein.
Its high concentration of antibodies is important to protect the baby from infectious agents. Its laxative effect makes the newborn's first bowel movement easier. Your milk may not come in fully while you are in the hospital, but this is no cause for worry. Small amounts are completely normal and make your baby suck especially eagerly; this energetic sucking stimulates the flow of milk.

The composition of the colostrum spontaneously changes, first to that of transitional milk, then true mother's milk.
Engorgement is when the true milk comes in between the third and fifth day after the birth. It is triggered by an increase in prolactin. Once the placenta is expelled after the baby is born, the pituitary gland (hypophysis) produces more prolactin, a hormone that stimulates the mammary glands to produce true milk. When the baby latches onto the breast, the hypothalamus (a part of the brain with an important role in controlling hormone production and secretion) signals the pituitary gland to produce the hormones prolactin and oxytocin, among others.
The baby's suckling regulates the milk flow according to its appetite. The mammary glands produce milk "on demand" and increase the amount of milk as needed.
For the first month, your body produces more milk each day. In the second through sixth months, 600 to 900 g of milk are produced over 24 hours.
Page created on: 03/09/2012
Last modified on: 03/09/2012
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