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Long term benefits for the mother include decreased risk of breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The endocrine system drives milk production during pregnancy and the first few days after the birth.
Breast milk is made from nutrients in the mother's bloodstream and bodily stores.
Breast milk has an optimal balance of fat, sugar, water, and protein that is needed for a baby's growth and development.
Colostrum is easy to digest although it is more concentrated than mature milk.
Although the baby has received some antibodies through the placenta, colostrum contains a substance which is new to the newborn, secretory immunoglobulin A (Ig A).
Ig A works to attack germs in the mucous membranes of the throat, lungs, and intestines, which are most likely to come under attack from germs.
Rushing or interrupting the process, such as removing the baby to weigh him/her, may complicate subsequent feeding.
Children who are born preterm have difficulty in initiating breast feeds immediately after birth.