Human milk contains antibodies that can coat the newborn baby’s intestines and respiratory tract and fight off infection. Consist of more fat and milk sugar but less protein than cow’s milk, mineral content is lower. If the mother is eating a balanced diet, her milk contains all the nutrients that a baby needs in its first six months or in the first year. Possible exception is Vitamin D, many physicians advise a vitamin supplement as a safeguard against possible deficiency.
Infant’s system cannot readily absorb the fats and casein in cow’s milk and its liver is not efficient at converting all cow’s milk protein into usable forms. A baby can digest up to 98 percent of the fat in mother’s milk. The high level of cholesterol in human milk might be bad for adults, in infants it promote secretion of enzymes that keep cholesterol levels down for life.
Cholesterol and special fats present in human milk are needed for development of the brain that takes place in the first year of life. The fat and the protein in mother’s milk are correctly tailored to meet the needs of the baby’s rapidly developing nervous system, and the low salt content of human milk is also just right for the baby’s immature kidneys. Mother’s milk provides all the calcium and phosphorous that the baby needs for its rapidly growing skeleton and though human and cow’s milk are both low in iron, mother’s milk is more easily absorbed in an infant’s body than cow’s milk.