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Breast Milk is a Baby's Full Course Meal- Part 2

I would like to continue thinking with you about the variations in flavor and chemical changes of breast milk.

A baby's first step on the road to many major events to come

The experience of changing flavors of the mother's milk is one of the first major events for the newborn. From a human biology perspective, the significance of this first step in life may be that the baby is learning how to control his/her appetite.

The thicker, creamier consistency of the breast milk towards the end of a feeding indicates that the "full course" is nearing the end. When the baby realizes the changes in flavor of the breast milk, it signals that the meal is coming to an end. If the baby needs more, s/he will seek the other breast. Otherwise, satisfied, s/he will soon fall fast asleep.

A baby raised on breast milk experiences changes in flavor at each feeding, which imprints the skill to control his/her appetite by sending signals to the developing brain.

On the other hand, a baby brought up on artificial nourishment cannot experience such delicate changes in flavor. This means that a baby may continue to drink the formula until the physical limit felt in the stomach. This is this baby's first step in life.

The change in components and consistency of breast milk leads to a change in its flavor. The baby who is raised on breast milk learns to appreciate these delicate changes in flavor. When the flavor turns richer, the end is signaled and the baby also learns that there is an end to a meal.

During the course of each feeding, the change in the breast milk inadvertently triggers the central nervous system's (note 1) function of eating. It can be considered a good start to life.

The persons who will make our future

As you know eating is not only for nutrition's sake. It is also important to enjoy the taste.

Eating makes up a significant part of our culture. Children, who will make our future meaningful, must face this culture to construct their own contemporary culture.

I believe that the wonderful phenomenon of breast milk teaches the delicate essence of savoring flavors, as well as human relationships. Although feeding is one of the most basic sources of nutrition which is a necessity in life, it reflects the sensitivity of breast milk.


(Note 1) The various functions of the nervous system are controlled by a nucleus in the brain.

Kobayashi, Noboru (1991). Bonyu ha akachan no furuko-su 2 (written in Japanese). Tokyo: Child Research Net. Retrieved June 7, 2001, from the World Wide Web:
http://www.crn.or.jp/LIBRARY/KOBY/MIRAI/cbs0081.html
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