Mom shares her evidence: Breast milk adapts to baby's needs

We know that breast milk is high in protein and nutrients that infants need, and that it changes composition over time as Baby grows and has different needs. But did you know that it actually changes in response to any indication that Baby is sick?
Mallory Smothers knows. After a rough night of breast-feeding an infant who became ill around 3 a.m., she noticed a distinct change in the milk she pumped later that morning. "The milk I produced (after Baby fell ill) 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," she posted on her Facebook page on Feb. 14. 
Smothers was aware of a study published in the April 2013 issue of Clinical & Translational Immunology that found a "strong association between the health status of the mother/infant dyad and breast milk leukocyte levels." The study found that leukocyte levels are a "considerable" 13 to 70 percent for the first several days after birth, then stabilize to a low 2 percent baseline level; but if either mother or infant suffer an infection, leukocytes increase to up to 94 percent of all cells in the breast milk. "Mom's body will actually change the milk's immunological composition, tailoring it to the baby's particular pathogens by producing customized antibodies," Smothers explains in her post. "Pretty awesome huh?! The human body never ceases to amaze me."
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