Milk produced by a woman following childbirth. It is lower in fat than cow's milk and is sweeter due to its high lactose content. Its flow is stimulated by the hormone oxytocin from the pituitary gland, and by suckling. It is said that any young woman will begin to produce milk if suckled persistently over many days or weeks. Many men and women enjoy the delicate taste of breast milk. The act of giving and taking it for some is a uniquely intimate bond of love. Breast milk contains antibodies which help protect the infant. It has been used as a disinfectant and applied to wounds, stings, and bites to aid healing.
Human breast milk can be stored in a sealed container in a refrigerator at -4 C for up to 72 hours. Alternatively, it can be stored frozen in suitable containers at -20 C for up to 6 months.
Pooled human milk has been used successfully to make a very soft crumbly cheese although not on a commercial scale. This may change since sheep or goats could, in theory, have their genetic code altered to produce milk with the same chemical composition as human milk. Breast milk has been used by a few chefs who wish astonish their customers, or more likely, to gain publicity.
Breast milk is commonly known as mother's milk. The widespread use of wet nurses both now and in the past makes this a bit of an old wives tale.
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