Most of us are aware of the more common benefits of breastfeeding – but here are ten amazing things you may not know:
1. Introducing solids becomes easier, because babies are exposed to a slight taste of the foods you eat through your breast milk.
2. The longer a woman breastfeeds, the lower her risk becomes of getting ovarian and breast cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Research suggests that if a woman breastfeeds for 8 years she has an almost 0% risk of breast cancer!
3. By breastfeeding a baby girl, a mother reduces her daughter’s lifetime risk of breast cancer by 25%.
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4. Did you know that your brain uses 20% of your body’s energy? Compare that to breast milk – which consumes 25% of your body’s energy.
5. Ask a breastfeeding mother about their “lazy leftie” and they will know what you are talking about – 3/4ths of all mothers produce more milk in their right breast, whether they are right- or left- handed.
6. Mother’s milk is truly remarkable – having the ability to change nutritional content from day to day, to cater to baby’s needs. In fact, in the summer months, when it’s hotter, mother’s milk will have an increase in water, to ensure baby remains hydrated without needing to intake water separately.
7. A mother’s breast can detect baby’s temperature and adjust to either warm or cool the baby as needed. In fact, a mother’s breasts can detect even a 1 degree variation in baby’s temperature!
8. Research shows that breastfeeding mothers with supportive partners are more likely to be successful and breastfeed longer, enjoy family life more, and have more energy left over for adult relationships than those without supportive partners.
9. Breastfed babies know their mother’s scent/breast milk so well, they can pick them out by smell alone. Research shows that this "scent" is also a part of the amniotic fluid - so baby knows their mother's breast milk scent and taste almost immediately.
10. Breastfeeding guru Anna Burbridge points out one of the many health benefits of breastfeeding: “If the mother is out and about, and she's exposed to a virus, if somebody sneezes on her and she ingests that germ into her nose, within 20 minutes her milk will be producing antibodies to help her baby fight that virus.”
Breast milk and breastfeeding mothers are truly remarkable. If you know a nursing mother, be sure to send her some encouragement this week, as we celebrate World Breastfeeding Week.
Amanda Sukkert is Owner of Love Milk & Honey, a subscription-based company in South Carolina that caters to breastfeeding and pumping moms. To learn more, click here or visit Love Milk & Honey at http://www.lovemilkhoney.com/.