11 Amazing Breastfeeding Facts You Will Love
We have had the privilege to work with breastfeeding moms and babies for over 20 years. Here are some of our favorite breastfeeding facts.
1. Every mother provides “custom made” breast milk, containing specific antibodies to the germs in her environment. This is a great reason to continue breastfeeding while fighting a bug (like the flu!).
2. The taste of your breast milk will change according to the foods you eat. (Formula always tastes the same.) Research has shown that the varied flavors in breast milk can make it easier to introduce solid foods to the baby later on. (Riordan, J. & Wambach, K. (2010). Breastfeeding and Human Lactation 4th ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.)
3. Breastfeeding can be protective against becoming pregnant. There is less than a 2% chance of becoming pregnant while breastfeeding if:
- your baby is under six months old
- your menstrual cycle has not returned (bleeding or spotting during the first 56 days after childbirth is not considered menstrual bleeding)
- your baby feeds on demand both day and night
- your baby eats no other food or liquids
This is called LAM (Lactational Amenorrhea Method) birth control.
4. The benefits of breastfeeding are ‘dose related’. For example, a baby who is breastfed for longer than 4 months has a lower risk of developing diabetes than a baby breastfed for 2 months. Read more here.
5. Breastfeeding saves health care dollars. A study in 2010 concluded “If 90% of US families could breastfeed exclusively for 6 months, $13 billion per year would be saved and an excess of 911 deaths.” (Bartick, M. & Reinhold, A. (2010) The Burden of Suboptimal Breastfeeding in the United States: A Pediatric Cost-Analysis. Pediatrics, 10(1542), 1048-1056.)
6. Your nipple has more than one opening for milk to come out. The use of ultrasound has determined that the average number is between five and nine (previously it was thought that there was 15-25 openings). (Mohrbacher, N., Stock, J. & Newton, E. (2012 Update). The Breastfeeding Answer Book Schaumburg IL: La Leche League Intl.)
7. Green cabbage leaves have been shown to reduce swelling when breasts are engorged. You can read more here.
8. Breast milk helps to save money in Neonatal Intensive Care Units. For preterm babies in intensive care, every $1.00 spent on pasteurized donor milk results in a savings of $11.00 in medical costs. Feeding preemies breast milk shortens their stay in hospital and reduces their risk for necrotizing enterocolitis and other infections. Learn more here.
9. When baby suckles on the breast, the hormone oxytocin is released. Oxytocin causes the uterus to contract. Although these contractions can be uncomfortable, they help the uterus to return to it’s pre-pregnancy size.
10. When hospital practices are based on the Baby Friendly Initiative’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, women are 4.3 times more likely to exclusively breastfeed. Read more here.
11. Your right to breastfeed anywhere, anytime is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms! Find out more here.
Other posts you may enjoy: Breastfeeding Trivia: 16 Random Facts and Breastmilk or Formula… Is there Really a Difference?
About the authors:
Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.