Let me start this off by saying that breastfeeding is a very personal decision. Some women will, some women won’t. It’s ALL ok. Some women can’t because of physical reasons, some because of socioeconomic reasons, some for logistical reasons, some for emotional/psychological reasons, some for medical reasons. It doesn’t matter. What’s right for the mama is right for the baby. Period. We have to stop shaming and judging other mom’s for their choices and support each other! Formula has come a LONG way since the days when I was a baby and it was essentially just watered down skim milk with added lactose and a few vitamins. Over the years it has been refined and looks closer to breast milk than it did in the 70’s and 80’s. That being said, this past week was National Breastfeeding Week, and I felt that a shout out to nature’s original superfood was in order. While we now have many options to feed our babies in a healthy manner, breast milk will always be the best way. I don’t say this to make anyone feel badly about their choices (and I sincerely hope that it doesn’t), but it is the simple truth. Breastmilk, if you choose to breastfeed, is inarguably the best nutrition that you can give your child. In honor of National Breastfeeding Week I thought I would share some pretty awesome and interesting facts about breastfeeding, as well as the benefits because…
Boobies are the bomb: Fun Facts
- Breastmilk changes composition based on the baby’s needs, not just week to week as the baby grows, but daily and even HOURLY! Mama’s body instinctively knows exactly what the baby needs, and her body will adjust the amount of fat, protein, etc… based on your babies needs in that moment.
- Your breast milk will change its water content just based on the temperature of your baby. This is why skin to skin is so important. If your baby’s body temperature is elevated for any reason (hot weather, fever etc..) mama’s body will automatically increase the water content of the milk to properly hydrate baby. Amazing.
- Speaking of water, breastfeeding requires A LOT of water! You need 1 extra glass of water per feeding. With a newborn that can be up to 10-12 extra glasses of water a day. I remember DYING of thirst in those first few weeks. I couldn’t get enough water.
- 75% of women produce more milk in their right breast despite being right or left-handed. We don’t know why, but it’s very interesting and was totally true for me.
- If you are lucky enough to be able to breastfeed it can save you 1500 dollars a year. Formula can be very expensive.
- Breastfeeding releases hormones that act as a relaxant to mama and baby. I used to fall fast asleep during breastfeeding in the early days every single feeding. Still do sometimes. Ever see a breastfeeding newborn? They look like little town drunks. Eyes rolling back in their lolling heads. Except it’s precious when they do it. Not so much with the town drunk.
- Breastmilk changes flavor with what you eat which helps prime baby for when they start solids. My kid is going to freaking LOVE cookies….um I mean broccoli.
- Breasts can detect even a 1 degree temperature drop in your newborn and will warm up. You’re a human incubator! Another reason why skin to skin is so essential in the beginning.
- Breastfed baby poop doesn’t smell bad. My kids smelled like plain yogurt. TMI? Sorry.
- Newborns are Farsighted and can only see things that are 8-10 inches from their face. This is the exact distance between your nipple and your face, allowing you and your newborn to bond while feeding. They also happen to think your the most beautiful thing they’ve ever laid eyes on even though you haven’t showered in 16 days and you somehow have crusty spit up in your ear form one of those aforementioned 16 days. You can’t remember, and it doesn’t matter because your baby thinks your a SUPER MODEL.
- If your breastfeeding a baby during the time of conception of your next baby, your more likely to conceive twins. Um……what? Shit.
- Breastfeeding burns 500 extra calories a day on average and can help mom to lose the baby weight. Many moms find they can eat a lot more than usual and still lose the weight. Woot woot! Side note: It won’t work if your eating an extra 1200 calories a day. Learned that one the hard way.
Benefits of Breastmilk
- Breastmilk contains antibodies that are transferred to your baby protecting them from respiratory infections, intestinal infections, pneumonia, meningitis, colds and viruses.
- Studies point towards breastfed babies having a lower risk of SIDS. While they can’t prove it is breastfeeding alone that causes the lower risk, the evidence is pretty convincing that it plays a significant role.
- Breastfed babies are less likely to struggle with obesity.
- Breastfeeding lowers a baby’s risk of certain chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and celiac disease.
- Breastfeeding mothers have a lower risk of osteoporosis.
- Breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer in the mother.
- Breastfed babies may have some extra protection against obesity related cancers in adulthood.
- Breastfeeding can lower the risk of allergies, asthma, and eczema in high risk babies. High risk means they have a parent with allergies, asthma, or eczema. So my baby is high risk in this regard, and preventing her from having allergies was one of my top priorities.
- Breastfeeding protects against autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Chron’s disease.
- Breastfeeding after birth helps the uterus contract back to size faster and helps prevent postpartum bleeding in the mother.
- Breastfed babies have fewer cavities.
Breastmilk has been designed by nature to be the perfect food for babies. It is not always easy. In fact, for mothers who can and choose to breastfeed, it can be extremely difficult. I know the first few months were incredibly difficult for me, and if I hadn’t had a tremendous amount of support I may not have been able to continue. So I hope that this can be an encouraging source of information for any mom who makes the choice to breastfeed. Wether you do or you don’t, you are awesome, you kick ass, your a mother- effing mom, and I celebrate you. Happy National Breastfeeding Week!