There is nothing better for infants than breast milk, and there is a scientific consensus on this. But what a young mom from the USA has experienced now, the researchers find no explanation for this.
Breast milk reacts to sick baby
It was on a night in February when Mallory Smothers from the USA was breastfeeding her newborn several times, as usual. At some point she discovered the first signs of a cold on her little darling. The child got a fever, became restless, and cried. Mallory was preparing for exhausting next days.
The next morning, as usual, when the young mother pumped the milk into a plastic bag for the hours to come, she experienced a huge surprise. What came out of her breast was not white, as usual, but yellowish and of a noticeably thicker consistency. The liquid was strikingly like colostrum.
Colostrum is the milk produced by women in the first days after giving birth, to help the newborn to strengthen his immune system. It has a different composition than ordinary breast milk, contains a higher concentration of enzymes, proteins and antibodies – and is just yellowish and thick.
Mallory Smothers is convinced that her body has somehow reacted to her child’s illness and wants to help her little one get better faster. As proof, she posted a photo on the web. On the left the ordinary white milk, on the right the striking yellow milk that she pumped the morning after her child was infected.
What the body can do when the baby is sick
Mallory’s theory is not so absurd. Indeed, there are scientific studies which have established a link between produced breast milk and a disease of the mother or the child.
A study from 2011 found an increased leukocyte content in breast milk in such a case. Leukocytes are the white blood cells that are mainly responsible for the defense against disease germs.
Another study from 2013 confirms this astonishing finding. Again, the researchers found more white blood cells in breast milk when the baby was sick.
We knew that breastfeeding is not only there to nourish the baby, but that the substances contained in breast milk also help protect the newborn from infections and diseases. But now scientists have found that breast milk even contains a natural antibiotic that could help us fight immune diseases.
How the mother’s body notices that the baby is sick, neither of the examinations provide any answer. The researchers have simply not been able to determine the exact process of the phenomenon.
Only a few theories exist. Mallory Smothers also represents one of them: She is convinced that the pathogens of her child got into her own body through her child’s saliva when breastfeeding at night. Her own immune system, the line of thought goes on, then analyzed this and reprogrammed the production of her breast milk accordingly. Whether this thesis really comes true can only be shown in future studies. What remains for so long is the realization that the bond between mother and child is a unique miracle.