But mother nature does a little bit more – she helps programme junior to sleep through the night.
Feeding baby drops of a sleep potion
Sleep is an ingredient frequently missing in a home with a newborn.
Maybe a few frazzled, sleep deprived Mom’s would even admit that they have in a moment of exhausted delirium, seriously entertained the idea of slipping junior a sleeping potion. Of course, fantasizing and doing, are not the same thing.
But, the good news is, mother nature understands and has got Mom covered.
Researchers from the University of Extremadura have uncovered the special night time formulation of breast milk, which encourages sleep.
Milk blending uncovered
Among the long list of vital nutrients included in breast milk are nucleotides, such as adenosine, guanosine and uridine. These nucleotides do more than just build DNA and RNA, they act as chemical messengers. The message is directed at the central nervous system – either quietening things down or revving things up.
Adenosine, in particular, signals the brain that it is time to take a break. High levels in the brain, serve to switch off the various neuronal circuits – so we end up feeling sleepy.
NOTE : Caffeine hijacks this signalling system, by interfering with adenosine’s activities – allowing the user to keep going, despite feeling low on energy.
Night time blends
The research team investigated how the concentration of adenosine, guanosine and uridine fluctuated in human breast milk, over 24 hour period. The team gathered samples of breast milk from 30 women living in the Extremadura area. The ladies provided samples every 3-4 hours, throughout a 24 hour period.
Analysis revealed that the milk blend changed throughout the 24 hour cycle.
In night time feeds, the milk was loaded with adenosine – the body’s sleep signal. It seems Mother Nature was slipping baby a sleeping potion, between the hours of 8 pm and 8 am.
Express delivery time sensitive
Mom’s who are feeding on demand are automatically using a little pharmacology to help junior (and mom), sleep through the night.
But not all mom’s end up feeding on demand – thanks to modern technology, mom’s have the opportunity to “cheat” a little, this is especially helpful when feeding on demand doesn’t fit in with modern life. Pumping devices afford women the opportunity to express milk, which can be used to feed the little one, when Mom is away at work.
But…… this research reveals timing is important.
To give junior the perfect mix, requires the blend of milk to match the time of day.
Night milk /day milk
Ideally, modern Mom’s expressing milk that will not be used immediately should pay attention to the time the milk was produced.
Day time milk should preferably be used during the day, while night time milk, should ideally be used during the night to keep baby’s body chemistry in sync.The possible role of human milk nucleotides as sleep inducers. Nutritional Neuroscience, 2009; 12 (1): 2. Sánchez, Cristina; Cubero, Javier; Sánchez, Javier; Chanclón, Belén; Rivero, Montserrat; Rodríguez, Ana; Barriga, Carmen
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