Breastfeeding is a beautiful and miraculous event for new mothers to share with their infants—but it isn’t always easy. In fact, many women experience complications when breastfeeding including latching issues, an inadequate supply of milk, pain, and more. It is also an often inaccessible option for parents who adopt have children via a surrogate.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that newborns consume only breastmilk for the first six months and that mothers continue to breastfeed even after this point. This poses a problem for those who struggle with breastfeeding, and although formula alternatives are also healthy for infants, there is some concern about the lack of antibodies in these bovine-based formulas.
Fortunately, the company BIOMILQ has just announced that they have produced the world’s first cell-cultured human milk that was created outside of the breast, meaning that there is now another alternative to infant formula.
According to Dr. Jennifer Smilowitz, a human milk researcher, and BIOMILQ technical advisor, “Human milk is tremendously complex in both composition and structure which has made it impossible to replicate outside of the lactating parent.” Nevertheless, the team at BIOMILQ figured out how to recreate breast milk in a mere 11 months.
Though the BIOMILQ product isn’t exactly the same as breast milk, the firm does guarantee that it has macronutrient profiles that closely match the expected types of proportions of proteins, complex carbohydrates, fatty acids, and other bioactive lipids that are present in breastmilk. The team was able to achieve this by “replicating the intricate relationship between the cells that produce it and the conditions they experience inside the body during lactation.”
In some respects, it’s a good thing that BIOMILQ isn’t identical to breastmilk, because that means that it will be free from the environmental toxins, food allergens, and prescription medications that are sometimes passed from the mother to the child through breastfeeding.
That said, BIOMILQ doesn’t intend to replace breastfeeding, but simply to offer a healthier and more eco-friendly alternative to supplement a mother’s milk. The product must be fully tested before it can be be marketed, but its creators are confident it will be widely available in the near future.