Image Caption : Mother with Visible Cardiovascular System. When a mother's digestive system breaks down food nutrients are absorbed into her bloodstream. The nutrients travel to capillaries in the breast tissue where they are taken up by lactocytes (milk-producing cells) and repackaged into breast milk.
Breastfeeding and Breast Milk: Condition Information
Breastfeeding, also called nursing, is the process of feeding human breast milk to an infant, either directly from the breast or by expressing (pumping out) the milk from the breast and bottle-feeding it to the infant. Breastfeeding and breast milk provide an infant with essential calories and nutrients.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Policy Statement on Breastfeeding, women who don't have health problems should exclusively breastfeed their infants for at least the first 6 months of life.
The AAP suggests that a woman should try to breastfeed her infant for the first 12 months of life because of the benefits to both the mother and the infant.
Although breastfeeding is the recommended method for feeding infants, and breast milk provides most of the nutrients an infant needs, it does not provide infants with adequate vitamin D.4 The current AAP-recommended daily vitamin D intake is 400 IU per day for all infants and children beginning from the first few days of life.5 Human breast milk contains a vitamin D concentration of 25 IU per liter (about 4 cups) or less. Therefore, to meet the 400 IU daily requirement, supplementation is required.
NICHD / NIH
Breast milk is the milk produced by the breasts (or mammary glands) of a human female for her infant offspring. Milk is the primary source of nutrition for newborns before they are able to eat and digest other foods; older infants and toddlers may continue to be breastfed, either exclusively or in combination with other foods from around six months of age when solid foods may be introduced.
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