You know how at some grocery stores you can buy salad at the salad bar and then they give you that little plastic bag with a disposable fork and napkin? They give you the food and then some tools for eating it. Well it turns out that mother’s milk sort of does the same thing. The fat in mother’s milk is an important calorie source (think growth here) for new babies. There are also digestive molecules called lipases that come in the milk to help babies digest the fat in the milk.
The importance of human milk factors in infant fat digestion is well-documented, as hydrolysis of fat has been shown to be more than twice as efficient in breastfed infants compared with formula-fed infants…The importance of BSSL (bile salt-stimulated lipase) is supported by a study of preterm infants with low birth weight (3 to 6 weeks of age) who were fed raw versus heat-treated (ie, pasteurized or boiled) human milk. Fat absorption was significantly higher in the former group (74%) compared with the latter (54% in the pasteurized group and 40% in the boiled group). Pediatric Nutrition Handbook 2009, AAP
So we’ve got the food and the tools for using it well all in the same package of mother’s milk. Human milk is so amazing.