A woman's body can do incredible things. Arguably, one of the most amazing is the ability to grow and support a new life!
Breastfeeding is a notable part of this cycle, which nourishes babies while also benefiting mothers. Breastfeeding can have lifelong benefits, and today, we're going to tell you about some of them.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the science behind 10 unbelievable breastfeeding facts. Keep reading to learn more so that next time you play a game of trivia, you’ll have these surprising facts in your back pocket!
Most of us know that breastfeeding is the best nutrition for your baby because breast milk provides your child with all the essential nutrients they need for growth and development.
What you may not know is that breastfeeding can be incredibly beneficial for mothers too! We're going to tell you why below, along with some breastfeeding facts that just may give you a whole new appreciation for the human body.
#1 Moms Breastfeeding Get More Sleep 😴
Although most new parents experience sleep disruptions, research shows that mothers who breastfeed get an extra 30 minutes of sleep per night.
Based on this research, it is suggested that, if possible, women should practice exclusively breastfeeding since it can promote better sleep during postpartum recovery!
#2 Breastfeeding Can Protect Against Common Childhood Illnesses 🛡️
Breast milk acts as a magic potion, protecting your little one from a number of ailments that they are especially susceptible to during the first few months of life.
Exclusively breastfed babies have a significantly reduced risk of serious complications and long-term health conditions such as asthma, obesity, diabetes, andsudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). They are also less likely to contract common illnesses like ear infections and stomach bugs.
This is because breast milk is packed full of antibodies, which help babies fight off viruses and bacteria that can make them ill!
#3 Breast Milk Can Come in a Rainbow of Colours 🌈
Breast milk comes in many different colours, most of which are completely normal. In fact, your breast milk can change colour multiple times a day or even multiple times during one feeding session!
In the first stage of breastfeeding, you may notice that your breast milk is thick and yellow. This is called colostrum, otherwise known as "liquid gold," because this substance is especially beneficial for your baby's immune system.
Other than yellow, you may notice that your breast milk is white, clear, cream, tan, or blue-tinged. Depending on your diet, it may even appear green, pink, or red tint.
A red tint or rust colour can be indicative of blood in your breast milk, which in most cases is not a cause for concern and is perfectly safe for your baby.
If your breast milk is pink, this can be a sign of a bacterium called Serratia Marsescens. In this case, it is recommended to contact your pediatrician, as in larger amounts, this bacteria can be harmful.
#4 You Can Make Breast Milk into Jewelry 💍
Some talented artisans have even made breast milk into jewelry, and if you're looking for your next crafting project, this DIY jewelry might be for you. Breast milk can be used to make earrings, necklaces, rings, and more!
If you're not the crafty type, you can ship your breast milk to a small business that offers this service, and they can create the jewelry for you; pretty cool, right?
#5 Breastfeeding Lowers Your Risk of Ovarian Cancer and Postpartum Depression 💖
There are many breastfeeding benefits, but this one is especially important, as it can protect mothers from various health complications.
Three of the biggest health benefits associated with breastfeeding are alowered risk of developing ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and postpartum depression.
On top of that, mothers who breastfeed are less likely to experience high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
#6 Milk Comes Out of Your Nipples Like a Shower Head 🚿
Did you know that each nipple can have up to 15 holes? While it's easy to think of your nipple like a bottle head with just one hole, nipples are actually much more similar to a shower head.
Rather than sucking milk out, babies get milk out by massaging the nipple with their tongue, which creates a vacuum effect!
#7 The Scent of Your Areola Can Help Your Newborn Find Your Nipple 👃
Babies are naturally attracted to the familiar scent of your nipple, which helps them learn to breastfeed. This is because the little bumps on your nipple, otherwise known as Montgomery glands, secret an oil that smells like amniotic fluid - the stuff that surrounds your little one in the womb during pregnancy.
#8 Breast Milk Changes in Composition During a Feed and Overtime 🕰️
Human milk is a dynamic fluid that changes in composition to adapt to the needs of breastfed babies. It is an ideal food and the perfect source of all the nutrients that a growing baby needs.
It changes compositionally in various ways, from colostrum to late lactation, as well as within feeds and between mothers.
As mentioned above, colostrum is nicknamed "liquid gold" as it is a potent natural immune booster that is produced by mothers during pregnancy and released after they have recently given birth. It is a nutrient-dense source of protein, antibodies, and growth factors, making it an important starting point for your baby's diet.
Not only does the composition of breast milk change over time, but it also changes throughout each feed. At the beginning of a feeding, breast milk will contain higher amounts of water and lactose and will end with a higher fat content.
#9 It’s Legal to Breastfeed in Public in America and Canada 🤱
In Canada, the Ontario Human Rights Commission policy outlines that women have the right to breastfeed in Public. In America, the law is determined by each individual state, with 49 of them having laws that allow mothers to breastfeed in indoor and outdoor public spaces.
#10 You Can Donate Your Breast Milk 🎁
If you have more than enough milk to meet the needs of your little one and more, you may consider donating some of it. This can have a huge benefit for premature or sick infants who are unable to receive breast milk from their own mothers.
We hope that you learned something new from these facts about breastfeeding, and if you're a breastfeeding mother, why not show your body a little extra love today for all that it does for you and your little one? And if you ever have any concerns about your breast milk or need help along your breastfeeding journey, we recommend seeking support from your midwife, pediatrician, or lactation consultant.
Please be aware that this information is based on general trends evidenced in babies and mothers, it is in no way medical advice.
Agustina Fernandez is a medical doctor, who graduated from Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, in Argentina. She has experience working in an emergency room of a public hospital, where she helped many patients with urgent diseases. However, her true passion are children and she is planning on doing her specialization degree in Pediatrics soon. In the past year, she has become interested in researching about infant nutrition, including breastfeeding, infant formula and food in the first years of little ones' lives.
Dr. Hsu received his medical degree from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, and holds a Master’s of Science degree from both Harvard University and Tufts University.
Dr. Hsu did research in MRI neuroimaging research of fetal brains at Boston Children’s Hospital, an affiliated hospital of Harvard Medical School. Dr. Hsu is currently a full-time medical writer and consultant.
Outside of the medical profession, Dr. Hsu loves to write, learn new languages, and travel