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Several studies have shown that the factors in human milk make the infant’s immune system mature faster than if the infant had been fed less. These new findings open the door for future studies on human milk and its effects on the innate immune system of developing infants.
Infants who are breastfed receive additional protection against antibodies and other proteins from immune cells in human milk. Given the immune-boosting factors in breast milk, it is not surprising that breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from ear infections, vomiting, diarrhoea, pneumonia, urinary tract infections and some types of meningitis. Breast milk gives babies a head start in preventing and fighting infections. Breast milk is made up of other proteins, fats, sugars and white blood cells that work together in a variety of ways to fight infections.
The milk a mother produces after giving birth called colostrum contains immune-boosting antibodies that protect the baby in the first months of life. Colostrum – the first milk the mother produces after she and the baby are together – is full of antibodies. Antibodies that fight infections are present in large quantities in colostrum, the first dairy products to come out of the breast after birth.
The researchers do not know why, but the maternal immune system is known to form antibodies against pathogenic (not normal) bacteria during this process, and this process favours the establishment of good bacteria in the intestines of babies. The mother’s immunological memory is passed through breast milk onto the child and breast milk contains a variety of immunomodulating substances that cause immunological imprinting and programming
Maternal intake influence infant’s immune system
More and more studies are looking into how gut health supports the immune system. Ideally, the more diverse the gut microbiome the better it is at supporting the immune system. So the real question here is how do we increase the diversity of our gut microbiota? This happens with fibre intake from different sources such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes.
Fibres from these sources help good bacteria to thrive. The different colours of food from these sources also carry different antioxidants and polyphenols that also helps good bacteria to thrive. Herbs, be it Chinese herbs or Mediterranean herbs, carry fibre and antioxidants as well. When the good bacteria thrive, it forms a protective mucus layer over the gastrointestinal wall which prevents pathogenic bacteria from entering into the bloodstream. This means that healthy lactation meals for moms are ones that contain adequate vegetables and of different varieties would have a lower risk of falling sick.
Singapore recommended fibre intake is 20g per day for women. This can be easily achieved by having 2 servings of fruits and 2 servings of vegetables per day. Not to forget, current guidelines also recommend 2 to 3 servings of whole grains which is equivalent to 50g of whole grains per day. That is about half your current intake of carbohydrates in a day! This means as a start, one of the best lactation meals tips you can easily achieve is by replacing one of your meals with brown rice or mixing 50% of your brown rice with white rice!
How Relacto fulfils this concept
Many of our meals in our lactation diet menu contain carrot, capsicums, goji berry, tomato, black beans or leafy vegetables to add colour and variety of vegetable intake and increase fibre intake even in your protein dishes. These are on top of the vegetable dishes that are already given at every meal. For instances:
- Sweet and sour salmon
- Braised pork trotter in black vinegar
- Oven Baked chicken with beetroot
- Moroccan braised chicken
We also understand that not all mummies enjoy brown rice options, so things like brown rice ,red beans, millet, quinoa, rolled oats are mixed with white rice and served in a different composition every day. Some of the examples are:
- Tri colour grain rice
- Five grain rice
- Black barley with white rice
- Quinoa mixed white rice
- Brown rice vermicelli
Be sure to check out our menu, featuring more than 100 fusion and traditional dishes awaiting to be served straight to your door!