7 surprising superpowers of breastmilk you didn’t know about

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Until now! Read this article now, be surprised and informed. Don't forget to share it with your breastfeeding friends.

You know this by now: breastmilk* is unanimously advocated by health experts and professionals around the world as best for your baby.

But there are many other things about breastmilk that perhaps you didn't know, which we'd like to tell you about.  You're bound to find these facts absolutely fascinating!

1. Breastmilk can potentially cure cancer

Proteins in breast milk can kill cancer cells.

A Swedish professor and her team have found out after decades of research that a special protein in breastmilk has the ability to kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells! 

They named this amazing protein HAMLET and are currently trying to get it developed as a new cancer-fighting drug.

2. Breastmilk can 'sense' when your baby is sick

This is breastmilk from the same mum - the milk on the right was produced when her child was sick. It turned golden, almost colostrum-like, in order to help fight her baby's infection!

Your body has the ability to alter the nutritional and immunological composition of your breastmilk depending on your baby's need at that moment.

According to biologist Katie Hinde, a nursing baby creates a vacuum with its suckling that causes its saliva to be sucked back into the mother’s nipple. The receptors in the mammary glands then translate the information picked up from the “baby spit backwash”, which it then uses to adjust the breast milk’s immunological composition.

3. On hot days, your breastmilk automatically becomes more 'watery' 

There's no need for water for babies under the age of 6 months who are exclusively breastfed. Just increase the frequency of your feeds.

As it is, breastmilk is made up of 88% water, satisfying your baby's hydration needs in general and making giving water to a fully breastfed baby under the age of six months unnecessary.

But on very hot days, research shows that it is still unnecessary to give a nursing infant water as your breastmilk still quenches his thirst perfectly well. You only need to increase the frequency of nursing.

4. Breastmilk can fight bacteria

Did you spot the 'wall'?

Earlier this year, Vicki Greene, a first-year bioscience student at South Devon College in the U.K., put breast milk from the mother of a 15-month-old and a 3-year-old in Petri dishes containing the bacteria M. Luteus. 

A photo of the experiment on Facebook  clearly shows a space between the breastmilk and the bacteria - like a wall - keeping the bacteria from getting too close to the breastmilk. Greene said she "used the experiment as a way to showcase that breastmilk's antimicrobial properties may persist well beyond the age many end breastfeeding."

5. Breastmilk cures acne

If you have acne, try applying breastmilk on it.

Acne solutions don't get any cheaper or effective than this!

According to the results of a study conducted by a team at the University of California, the lauric acid found in breastmilk can help treat acne. It's as simple as applying breastmilk over the affected area and letting it air-dry.

6. It's a natural pain-relief medication

Breastmilk soothes your baby's pain.

When a baby is crying, they almost always immediately calm down when on the breast.

This is partly to do with the physical comfort they get from being snuggled close to you - your warmth, touch and scent.

But breastmilk also contains endorphins, which, from physiological level, help ease pain in the human body.

7. It's the perfect pre-term baby milk

When you baby is born early, you produce special pre-term milk which nourishes your little one.

For mums who give birth to delicate little preemies, nutrition could be a worry. However, if you are such a mum, did you know that your breastmilk once again changes to provide optimum nutrition for your premature baby's needs?

According to research, "human milk from women delivering prematurely has more protein and higher levels of many bioactive molecules compared to milk from women delivering at term."

*This article in no way attempts to undermine those mums who cannot breastfeed for whatever reason. We understand, and we support you too. 

Share your thoughts on this article in a comment below. In what ways has breastfeeding amazed you? 

Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore

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