Incredible things you didn’t know about Breastfeeding and Breastmilk.
It’s world breastfeeding week. From the intense bond, it can help you form with your baby in the first hours after birth, to the benefits it has on your baby’s health even into adulthood, there’s a reason breast milk is called “liquid gold.”
It’s important to note that not all women can or choose to breastfeed for various reasons, and goes without saying that a ‘fed baby is always best’. Here are just a few of the incredible facts about breastmilk and breastfeeding.
- Babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses and bouts of diarrhoea.
- They also have fewer hospitalisations and trips to the doctor. Breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood in some studies.
- Various organisations also say that breastfeeding plays a role in the prevention of SIDS. It’s also said to lower the risk of diabetes, obesity, and certain cancers.
- Breastfeeding burns between 500-600 calories a day. That means some mums might end up losing weight without any additional exercise.
- Breast milk is a living substance that contains live cells, including stem cells, which go on to become other body cell types like brain, heart, kidney, or bone tissue.
- Breast milk also contains antibodies and live white blood cells that help your baby fight against infection. And, when you or your baby are sick, the amount of these cells in your breast milk increases.
- Colostrum (your first milk) contains unique proteins that coat your baby’s intestinal tract to protect from harmful bacteria right from the start.
- Your brain releases the hormones prolactin and oxytocin during breastfeeding, which helps you to bond with baby and ease those normal feelings of stress and anxiety.
- The amount of breast milk you can produce has nothing to do with your breast size. A mum with small breasts can have just as much (or more!) milk-making tissue as a mum with large breasts.
- Your breast milk is constantly changing to meet the needs of your growing baby. From month-to-month, throughout the week, day-to-day, and even throughout a single feeding.
- Mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes, and postpartum depression. And, the longer a woman breastfeeds in her lifetime, the more protection she receives.
- Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of common childhood illnesses, including ear infections, respiratory infections, gastroenteritis, and Necrotizing Enterocolitis.
- Mums of preemies have breast milk with more protein, fat, and other minerals for bone and brain growth as well as the most protective factors to prevent illness and infection.
- Premature babies fed more breast milk in the first 28 days of life have better brain development by the time their original birth date arrives and see benefits to IQ and memory skills later in childhood.
If you would like assistance or help with breastfeeding feel free to get in contact with us for an appointment with our Midwife Martha Clayton
Source: Medela & WHO