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Dr Virginia Thorley, OAM, PhD, IBCLC, FILCA

International Board Certified Lactation Consultant


Nutrients provided by breastmilk in 2nd year

Posted on November 1, 2013 at 7:36 PM
Years ago there was an Old Wives' Tale told to breastfeeding mothers as their baby reached the second half of the first year - that their milk would "turn to water" at a particulr age, usually the age the baby was then.  This comment was both illogical and unscientific - milk continues to be milk.  These days, although the extreme belief of the past seems to have disappeared, mothers and health professionals still wonder if the milk is still nutritious enough for breastfeeding to be worthhile in the second year.
Here is a useful resouce for information about the continued quality of mother's milk, even when the child is eating other foods in addition to breastfeeding.
Dewey KG. Nutrition, Growth, and Complementary Feeding of the Breastfed
Infant. Pediatric Clinics of North American. February 2001;48(1).
Pediatr Clin North Am. 2001 Feb;48(1):87-104.
The author calculates that 448 mL of breastmilk per day provides a child of 12 - 23 months with significant nutrition, as the percentages below attest. These are of course, percentages of the child's recommended daily requirements.
* 29% of energy needs
* 43% of protein   "   "
* 36% of calcium   "   "
* 75% of vitamin A "   "
* 76% of folate        "   "
* 94% of vitamin B12  "   "
* 60% of vitamin C    "   "
In addition, there are the various protective mechanisms provided by the milk, not listed here, and the breast provides comfort to the toddler who has a tumble or fright.

Categories: Continued value of breastfeeding, beyond the early months

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Reply Virgiinia
9:35 AM on November 16, 2013 
Some other inportant components of breastmilk that continue to benefit the older baby and toddler are prebiotics, which foster the growth of lovely, protective probiotics in the bowel.

As many of you are aware, manufacturers of artificial baby and toddler milks advertise that their products contain prebiotics and probiotics, omitting to mention that these products contain relatively small amounts of these additives. They also omit to mention that the evidence as to whether they are effective when placed in these mixtures is conflicting. Here's what else the advertising doesn't mention:

- the source of these additives
- that human milk has a large component of prebiotics, all of then species-specific (human) origin, and they support the development of probiotics in the gut

The advertisements encourage caring parents to think they should switch from breastfeeding to using these products to get all these components - not realising that they are actually REDUCING the amount the baby gets. The smallest count of oligosaccharides in breastmilk that I've found in my reading is at least 130 - and they are one-third of the components of human milk. What a huge reduction in these goodies babies receive when they are switched to the artificial milks with additives.

Here are some references on prebiotics in human milk.

1) Perrin MT, Fogleman A, Allen JC. The nutritive and immunoprotective quality of human milk beyond 1 year postpartum: are laction-duration-based donor exclusions justified? J Hum Lact 2013; 29(3): 341-349. [This article,
a literature review for the information of human milk bank administrators and staff, is a useful source for other purposes. The table on p. 342 is very useful.]

References cited by Perrin et al on oligosccharides, in particular, are:

2) Kunz C, et al. Ologosaccarides in human milk: structural, functional, and metabolic aspects. Annu Rev Nutr 2000; 20:699-722.

3) Zivkovic AM, et al. Human milk glycobiome and its impact on the infant gastrointestinal microbiota. P Natl Acad Sci USA. 2011; 118 (suppl 1):1-6.

4) Bode L. Human milk oligosaccharides: every baby needs a sugar mama. Glyobiology 2012; 22(9):1147-1162.

Reply Handbags Online
3:33 AM on December 13, 2013 
If in doubt - put to the breast. Being at the breast can soothe, as well as provide milk.
Reply Forklift Training Melbourne
12:52 PM on March 23, 2014 
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Reply Virginia
10:51 PM on March 24, 2014 
Handbags Online says...
If in doubt - put to the breast. Being at the breast can soothe, as well as provide milk.

Yes, that is a very good rule - if in doubt, put to the breast. It can soothe mother and baby and provide more milk.
Reply air force
1:49 AM on April 3, 2014 
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12:33 AM on April 12, 2014 
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Reply SlimQuick
3:02 AM on August 5, 2014 
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Reply Virginia Thorley
4:09 AM on August 7, 2014 
Yes, it is really amazing stuff, the milk produced by women for their babies. Because it isn't usually seen, and money isn't paid for it in a shop, society tends to under-value it. Yet it is priceless.

It continues to provide the right nutrients, in the right proportions, as long as a child continues to breastfeed. It is thus an asset to the toddler who is a "picky eater" - if she or he is having some of Mum's milk, this provides important nutrients. (See my earlier comments in another thread for some examples.)
11:31 AM on April 30, 2018 
Awesome thanks