15 Really Cool Breastfeeding Facts You May Not Know
How to feed your baby is one of the most important decisions you will make. Breastfeeding is amazing in so many ways, and benefits both mom and baby. You may have already decided to breastfeed, or still, be thinking about it. No matter where you are in your journey, here are 15 Really Cool Breastfeeding Facts you may not know.
Breast milk boosts a baby’s immune system – when a baby eats at the breast, mama’s body absorbs baby’s saliva and starts making antibodies to fight any illness or infection present. Even if you exclusively pump, your body still responds to any germs that may be in the air.
Breastfeeding reduces the mothers risk of ovarian and breast cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis. The longer she breastfeeds, the higher the benefit. Also interesting – breastfeeding a baby girl actually reduces her lifetime risk of breast cancer by 25%.
Producing breast milk consumes 25-30% of the body’s energy; the brain only uses 20% by comparison.
On average, babies remove 67% of the breast milk mama has available – baby eats until they are full, a breast is never truly empty.
A mother’s breast can detect even a one-degree fluctuation in a baby’s body temperature and adjust accordingly to heat up or cool down baby as needed.
Breastfeeding exposes your baby to many different tastes. Breast milk is constantly changing not only to meet your baby’s nutritional needs, but with flavor variation as well.
Your breast milk has a unique smell, and your baby knows it. The smell may be similar to the amniotic fluid that baby was exposed to in the womb. This helps baby find the breast after birth, and is also why baby “roots” or turns their head toward your smell as a feeding cue.
Breast milk contains stem cells, and studies have shown they can be directed to cells in other parts of the body (fat, bone, brain and liver) to aid in healing.
Breastfeeding promotes proper oral development. Studies have found that babies who were exclusively breastfed for the first six months were less likely to have teeth alignment issues such as open bites, crossbites, and overbites, than those exclusively breast fed for shorter lengths of time or not at all.
What happens to one breast during breastfeeding may not happen to the other breast. For example, breast engorgement may leave one breast larger than the other. This also means that a mother may be able to breastfeed from just one breast, if some type of breast trauma is present.
Each nipple has 10-20 pores and milk is expressed from different pores at each feeding.
About 75% of women report that their right breast expresses more than their left.
Researchers are working hard to replicate a component in breastmilk that may be able to fight cancer cells (human alpha-lactalbumin made lethal to tumor cells or HAMLET).
Breastfeeding may help infants establish sleep schedules. The hormones melatonin and tryptophan are both present in breastmilk.
Breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS by 50% throughout all ages of infancy.
How’s that for a cool list of what the female human body can do? Also remember that breastfeeding isn’t all or nothing, nor does it look one certain way for all families. Breastfeeding encompasses all forms of human-milk feeding, be it exclusively pumping, using a supplemental nursing system, or some other alternative.