Throughout the day, the composition of the milk nursing mothers produce for their babies changes. Milk in the morning contains higher levels of the hormone cortisol, which promotes alertness. In the evening, the milk contains more melatonin, which is known to promote digestion and sleep.
Researchers believe that these differences in the milk influence the circadian clock of babies and help them distinguish nighttime from daytime. When milk is expressed there is the possibility that milk may be mistimed for babies; morning milk could be given in the evening, thus disrupting the body clock, and making the babies alert instead of sleepy.
Further research in this field is required to determine the role of breast milk on the circadian clock of babies, in the meantime it may be wise to record the time at which breast milk expressed. This way parents can ensure their babies are consuming the right hormones, vitamins and antibodies at the optimal time, and that the ‘chronosignals’ in the milk are suited to the time of feeding.
Source: Science Alert
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