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Human Culture is an Ingredient of Breast Milk- Part 2

In this article, I would like to continue looking at the relation between breast milk and the development of the child.

Much of the energy from breast milk is consumed by the brain.

If we assume that the human breast milk is rich in energy, where, in the baby's body, do you suppose that most of this energy is? Needless to say that it is used for an active and healthy development, most of it is used for the brain (nerve center).

In newborns, approximately 15% of the baby's weight is due to the brain mass, but with the rapid growth of the body, the size of the brain decreases in proportion. In adults, the brain accounts for only 2 or 3% of one's weight.

It has been calculated that the amount of blood flowing to the brain of an adult is approximately 20% that of all of the blood in circulation. Thus, for an infant, the amount of blood flowing into the brain is voluminous. Moreover, among all the organs in the body, the brain has the most active development pattern and develops at the fastest speed.

When the child reaches the age of two, the brain has already developed to 60% of its capacity as an adult's. Therefore, the assimilated breast milk's energy will be consumed with the brain that is actively developing at a rapid speed.

The baby is completely dependent on others.

The baby cannot move on its own, cannot care for one's excretions, and is completely entrusted to the care of the mother and others. However, the development of mind, feelings, and intelligence is something to be noticed with attention.

The lovely laughter of the baby, the cry to call his/her mother, and the surprised look when seeing someone new are all functions of an advanced system of intelligence and emotions.

For example, the joy expressed when playing peek-a-boo, the pleasures of seeing an object reappear, and the expectations when playing such games are all functions of a complex integration of emotions and intelligence. These are all comparable to an adult's levels of emotion and reactions. The energy of the mother's milk is not only for the growth of the baby, but also for the workings of the brain that is actively developing.

When thinking of a human being's whole lifespan, why is it that we feed the baby breast milk which is low in protein and high in sugar, and carry them around in the mother's arm for a whole year?

The human being is always involved with some combination of other people -- whether it be a married couple, family, school, workplace and society at large. As a member of each of these societies, s/he strives to build a civilized culture.

It seems that the essence of this society and the relations with others are the individual connections of the mind and heart. The relations held with the mother during the newborn period (note 1) of a baby's life, is to properly prepare him/her for all the human relations that the child will encounter in the future and is the prototype (note 2) for future human relations.

I believe that the human baby's relaxed motor development, drinking breast milk, being carried around, and allowing the brain to develop, are all ways for the child to realize his/her senses and to learn about the foundations of human relationships.


(Note 1) The newborn is generally referred to as being from birth to one years of age. However, it is also sometimes referred to until about one and a half years of age coinciding with the onset of walking or language.

(Note 2) By prototype, I mean the style that becomes the model for all forms to follow in the future.

Kobayashi, Noboru (1991). Bonyu no seibun ni ningen no bunka ga aru- 2 (written in Japanese). Tokyo: Child Research Net. Retrieved April 23, 2001, from the World Wide Web:
http://www.crn.or.jp/LIBRARY/KOBY/MIRAI/cbs0079.html
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