What are the advantages of breast-milk
In addition to providing nutrients, breast-milk has several special components such as growth factors, enzymes, hormones and anti-infective factors. The amount of milk secreted increases gradually in the first few days after delivery, reaching the peak during the second month, at which level it is maintained until about 6 months of age. An average Indian woman secretes about 750 ml of milk per day during the first 6 months and 600 ml/day subsequently up to one year. Many essential components are in concentrated amounts in colostrum as compared to mature milk, compensating for the low output during early lactation.
Breast-milk provides good quality proteins, fat, vitamins, calcium, iron and other minerals up to 4-6 months. In fact, quality of some of the nutrients can be improved by supplementing the diet of the mother with nutrients. Growth performance of majority of the breast-fed infants is satisfactory up to 6 months of age. Breast feeding is associated with better cognitive development possibly due to the high content of docosahexaeonic acid (DHA) which plays an important role in brain development.