Mallory Smothers, a breastfeeding mum from the US, expressed milk like she usually does one evening and everything seemed normal.
That night, however, her baby seemed to be coming down with a cold. 'I noticed in the wee hours of Friday morning, 3 AM or so-- she was congested, irritable, and sneezing ALOT. Probably a cold, right?', Mallory wrote in her Facebook post.
She nursed her that night and the following morning she expressed milk after getting up like usual. However, this time she noticed the milk had a different colour.
Associating the differences between the milk she produced at different times and an article she had read about breast milk responding exactly to what the baby needs, Mallory wrote in the Facebook post that the milk she produced on Friday was different because it was responding to her baby's cold.
'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..', Mallory wrote.
According to the study she read, published in the Clinical & Translational Immunology Journal, when a baby is being nursed, their saliva goes into the mother's nipple and her body interprets it to create perfectly-tailored milk for the baby's need.
She wrote: '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.'
In this case, Mallory's baby needed an extra dose of leukocytes to help fight her cold.
Mallory's Facebook post with the 'pretty awesome' finding has had over 70,000 shares, with many people, and especially mums, amazed at how mothers' bodies can respond to their baby's needs.