Seven Things You Probably Didn't Know About Breast Milk

Seven Things You Probably Didn't Know About Breast Milk

We know that breast milk is the most nourishing food to feed our babies. But there are likely a lot of other incredible and interesting things you didn’t know about this so-called “original superfood” for infants and toddlers.

Below are our top seven things that you probably didn’t know about your breast milk.

  1. Breastfeeding and Breast Milk Saves Lives

The sad truth is that the United State continues to report startling lagging figures on infant and child mortality, having the highest among other developed nations such as Canada, England, and Wales. While there are many factors which contribute to this troubling statistic, UNICEF has estimated that if every baby is breastfed for at least six months over one million lives can be saved every year.

  1. Breast Milk Differs for Male and Female Infants

Here’s another piece of interesting news: the breast milk you produce may differ depending on the gender of your baby. Researchers recently discovered that humans, as well as other mammals, will produce milk that will change in composition based on a number of factors, including the baby’s sex, the family income level, and family security.

The study involving 72 mothers in rural Kenya found that women with sons generally gave their sons milk with higher fat content. Poor women, however, tended to provide their daughters with creamier milk. This matches previous studies where well-nourished and income stable mothers in Massachusetts produced fattier, more energy-dense milk for their male babies.

  1. Breast Milk Is Always Changing

Your breast milk will differ from feed to feed for a variety of cool reasons (some of which you’ll learn about further in this post!). Even while feeding, your baby will first be treated to thirst-quenching foremilk, which gradually transforms into energy-dense hindmilk which is thicker and has greater fat content.

  1. Breastfeeding After Birth Helps Shrink Your Uterus

Oxytocin, the hormone responsible for triggering the letdown of breast milk, also causes your uterus to shrink back to normal. This is important as this reduces a mother’s risk of suffering from uterine bleeding.

The downside: you’ll feel some menstrual-like cramping, and these cramps become more uncomfortable with each baby. Your doctor may be able to prescribe some pain killers or natural methods (such as heat therapy) to make you more comfortable.

  1. Kissing Your Baby Affects Your Breast Milk

It turns out our strong desire to kiss our little ones isn’t just because of how cute they are. When a mama kisses her little boo, her body takes in the pathogens available on the baby’s face. These pathogens then travel to the mother’s lymphatic system, which then creates antibodies to fight those pathogens.

  1. Breastfeeding Offers Natural Birth Control

While breastfeeding, many mums will go months if not well over a year without their period. This is a welcome change for most mums (unless you’re trying to get pregnant again!) as you won’t have to deal with the cramping, bloating, and everything else that comes with that time of the month.

With that said, most doctors will strongly recommend taking a breastfeeding-approved contraceptive once you become sexually active again. This is because your period can return after you have unknowingly become fertile.

  1. Men Can Lactate, Too

Don’t get too excited, since men would need to spend a lot of time pumping and taking galactagogues to create enough breast milk for your baby. But studies have shown that men do have the appropriate breast tissue to lactate and feed a baby.

Further Reading:

https://www.who.int/features/factfiles/breastfeeding/en/

https://www.womenshealth.gov/its-only-natural/addressing-breastfeeding-myths/incredible-facts

 


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