Breastmilk is made up of a unique set of nutrients, which form the perfect food for your baby. The most important nutrients are present in breastmilk in exactly the right amounts and quality. These provide energy for growth and support the development of the brain, eyesight, the digestive system and a strong immune system.
Colostrum - the first milk produced in the first few days after birth - is especially nutritious. It contains maternal antibodies, an abundance of proteins, minerals, vitamins as well as so called “scavenger cells" which kill off bacteria and fungi.
Breastmilk is important for defending your baby against infections, while their own immune system is still in development. Breastfed babies’ intestinal flora is particularly rich in "good" bacteria (e.g. bifidobacteria and lactobacilli). These bacteria also help promote immune defense. This is important because the intestine is responsible for more than just digestion — it also contributes to a healthy immune system.
Prebiotics in breastmilk feed the good bacteria in the intestine, protecting your baby against germs. Breastmilk is important for defending the baby against viruses, which could make them sick and supporting the development their own immune system. That's why breastfeeding is the best thing you can do for your baby's immunity.
If possible, you should exclusively breastfeed your baby for their first six months.
At around 6 months they will be ready to start another milestone in their development -the introduction of baby food. During this phase you can continue to support your baby's natural immune system by giving them a balanced and healthy baby food diet. Foods which contain iron and zinc are especially good for their immune system.
While your baby is in fact born with an iron reserve, this is used up during the first few months and by 6 months it’s not enough for them to have breastmilk alone. Meat, eggs and whole wheat products contain a lot of iron. The grain millet is also a good source of iron.
The trace element Zinc, found in fish and whole wheat products, is also very important for every immune process.