TRYPTOPHAN IN BREASTMILK
There is a lot of research out there regarding what is in breast milk vs. what is in formula. One thing the formula companies have not been able to replicate is tryptophan.
On http://www.pubmed.gov there is one particular study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17700096) discussing that breastfeeding mothers actually got 40-45min. more sleep per night than a formula fed mother. Sleep was measured objectively by using wrist actigraphy and subjectively using diaries. Lee’s General Sleep Disturbance Scale was used to estimate perceived sleep disturbance. I believe one of the reasons for this is that the time it takes to prepare formula, warm a bottle etc. takes more time and energy then offering the breast.
A baby isn’t born with its circadian rhythms. This can take months to develop. In the meantime, the tryptophan and melatonin that is naturally occurring in breast milk will help ease things along. You may be wondering why then your breastfed baby wakes more than a formula fed baby? Well breast milk is easily digested and absorbed into a baby’s gut. Therefore they may appear hungrier faster. In contrast, formula is like a massive steak and potatoes meal that weights you down and makes you tired. It may not be so healthy to do that on a regular basis.
Another beautiful thing about tryptophan is that it’s the primary component of serotonin. Serotonin is helpful in improving memory; prevent brain disorders as well as sleeping and relaxation issues. If sleep and relaxation is affected, it can lead to depression (http://careforanewborn.blogspot.ca/2011/06/importance-of-tryptophan-in-breast-milk.htmlV).
Still not convinced? Breast milk composition changes throughout the day. It is higher in tryptophan in the evening than during the day. A recent study had mothers who exclusively pumped and stored their breast milk mark down the date and time they pumped. When they were feeding their babies at night, they only fed the milk pumped after 6pm. Formula fed mothers gave their babies only special ‘night time’ formula including some additives. The research showed that evening breast milk made babies sleepier (http://www.parentingscience.com/breast-pumps-and-baby-formula.html). This study also found that if you were to give your baby night time milk during the day, the baby will most likely turn it into serotonin which will in turn change into melatonin.
Breast milk is an amazing thing. Scientists continue to discover new properties with every new study. If you would like to know what the composition of breast milk vs formula is, please check out this site http://www.bcbabyfriendly.ca/whatsinbreastmilkposter.pdf . It’s amazing.
TRYPTOPHAN IN BREASTMILK