If you haven’t been able to tell yet, I’m a research junkie. I like to be in the know about whatever I’m involving myself in. Unsurprisingly, I approached motherhood and breastfeeding no different. I took courses, did online research, and talked to every experienced mom I knew. The things I learned about breast milk and breastfeeding in that time was truly jaw-dropping. Turns out, they don’t call it liquid gold for nothing. I’m convinced that the breasts are the most intelligent and underrated body parts on the female body. The things they can do in terms of nurturing children are truly amazing. Here are some out of this world facts about breastfeeding:
10 Random But Amazing Breastfeeding Facts
- Research has found that the temperature of a mother’s breast adjusts to the thermal needs of her baby. For example, if during skin to skin the baby feels warm, the breast will lower its temperature in response to prevent overheating. As if that isn’t cool enough, breasts are able to react independently of each other but still in sync with baby. So if baby is laying on the left breast only the left breast will respond. If there are twin babies, one on each breast, each breast will respond to its respective infant’s thermal needs.
- The nutritional content of your breast milk changes with time to compliment your baby’s needs. So, breast milk at one month is not the same as breast milk at seven months.
- Breastfeeding reduces your chances of breast or ovarian cancer and osteoparosis. The longer you do it, the lower your likelihood. An Australian research study found that women who breastfed for more than 13 months were 63% less likely to develop ovarian cancer than women who breastfed for less than seven months.
- Here’s an even bigger doozy: breastfeeding your daughter can reduce her risk of breast cancer by 25%. Also, breastfeeding for 6 months or longer has also been linked to a 20% lower risk of childhood leukemia.
- During your pregnancy, your areolas get larger and darker. There has been speculation that this occurs so baby can easily differentiate the nipple from the breast with their blurred newborn vision. It’s like a bull’s eye!
- Speaking of vision, the distance from your nipple to your face is about as far as a newborn can see, making mama’s face easy to recognize and gaze upon during breastfeeding. Coincidencia? We think not.
- Typically when we think of eating healthier, we think more expensive right? That’s not the case for babies. Breastfeeding can save families upwards of $4,000 annually compared to formula feeding.
- The “milk” that is released from your breast immediately after giving birth isn’t actually milk at all. It’s a solution called colostrum. Colostrum is jam packed with easily digestible antibodies to defend your newborn against harmful agents. Colostrum also coats the baby’s gastrointestinal tract with a protective barrier, making it the perfect first food for baby. The colostrum gradually changes into milk over the first two weeks after birth.
- Breast milk contains hormones that promote sleep and calmness, in both mom and baby. Which is why it isn’t surprising that studies have found that breastfeeding moms get up to 45 minutes more sleep, on average, than formula feeding moms. Just pull the booby out and everyone is back to sleep in no time.
- It takes about 500 more calories to nurse a baby than it takes to grow one inside of you. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself hungrier postpartum, I know I was.
All that being said, breastfeeding is not easy for all moms. If you’re struggling with breastfeeding or fearful at even the thought of it, there are (free) resources for support. Reach out to your birthing hospital and find out if and when they have breastfeeding support group meetings. You also (typically) can speak to a lactation consultant from your birthing hospital over the phone after you go home. Call labor and delivery and ask to be transferred to the lactation consultant. WIC offers free breastfeeding classes and breastfeeding support groups as well.
Here are some helpful sites that I used to look up random things I was experiencing during my early weeks with breastfeeding:
I wish you the best in your breastfeeding journey!