Around Valentine’s day, mom Mallory Smothers noticed that her baby seemed to be fighting a cold. The Arkansas mom pumped some breast milk in the evening, and again early the next morning, only to find that the milk looked very different.

“This is just cuckoo awesome– I read an article from a medical journal not too long ago about how Mom’s milk changes to tailor baby’s needs in more ways than just caloric intake,” smothers posted to Facebook. “Mom’s body will actually change the milk’s immunological composition, tailoring it to the baby’s particular pathogens by producing customized antibodies”

Science backs this up. A 2013 Clinical and Translational Immunology study investigated breast milk and cells that protect the body from infections, and found that the infection fighting cell count went up dramatically when the nursing baby was suffering from an infection.

More info: Nature.com | Facebook (h/t: cosmo)

When Mallory Smothers’ baby got sick,  the mom was surprised to see that her breast milk had changed, too

She discovered that “mammary gland receptors interpret the “baby spit backwash” for bacteria and viruses and, if they detect something amiss…”

“A Mom’s body will actually change the milk’s immunological composition, tailoring it to the baby’s particular pathogens by producing customized antibodies”

A 2013 study found that the infection fighting cell count in breast milk went up dramatically when the nursing baby was suffering from an infection

Here’s her full explanation:

So yall.. This is just cuckoo awesome– I read an article from a medical journal not too long ago about how Mom’s milk changes to tailor baby’s needs in more ways than just caloric intake.. So this doctor discusses that when a baby nurses, it creates a vacuum in which the infant’s saliva sneaks into the mother’s nipple. There, it is believed that mammary gland receptors interpret the “baby spit backwash” for bacteria and viruses and, if they detect something amiss (i.e., the baby is sick or fighting off an infection), Mom’s body will actually change the milk’s immunological composition, tailoring it to the baby’s particular pathogens by producing customized antibodies. (Science backs this up. A 2013 Clinical and Translational Immunology study found that when a baby is ill, the numbers of leukocytes in its mother’s breast milk spike.) So I filed that away in the back of my mind until I was packing frozen milk into the big deep freeze today.

I pumped the milk on the left Thursday night before we laid down for bed. I nurse Baby every 2 hours or so overnight and don’t pump until we get up for the day. I noticed in the wee hours of Friday morning, 3 AM or so– she was congested, irritable, and sneezing ALOT. Probably a cold, right?

When we got up Friday morning, I pumped, just as we always do. What I pumped is on the right side of the photo.

I didn’t notice a difference until today, but look at how much more the milk I produced Friday resembles colostrum (The super milk full of antibodies and leukocytes you make during the first few days after birth) and this comes after nursing the baby with a cold all night long..

Pretty awesome huh?! The human body never ceases to amaze me.

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