How does breast-milk protect against infection
Diseases and death among breast-fed infants are much lower than those among formula-fed infants. Breast-feeding protects against diarrhoea and upper respiratory tract infections. The bifidus factor in breast-milk promotes the natural gut flora. The gut flora and the low pH of breast-milk inhibit the growth of pathogens. Breast-milk has immunoglobulins (IgA), lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase and complements which protect the infant from several infections. Antibodies to E-coli and some viruses are found in breast milk, which protect the gut mucosa. Breast-feeding also protects infants from vulnerability to allergic reactions.