10 Interesting Breastfeeding Facts

breastfeeding san diego newborn photographer

Thinking about breastfeeding your new baby?

Hi! I’m Tristan. As a San Diego maternity & newborn photographer and mom of 6, I have a special spot in my heart for breastfeeding. The science behind it all is pretty fascinating. Check out these interesting facts you may not know about!

1. “Liquid Gold” a.k.a Colostrum

Colostrum, your first milk, contains special proteins that coat your baby’s intestinal tract to protect from harmful bacteria right away. Breast milk is high in protective antibodies and white blood cells, which destroy bacteria. It also has probiotics and prebiotics. It is also packed full of hundreds of different types of “good” bacteria. All of these bacteria are there to do the job of protecting your baby. It is really important for our gut to be colonized by healthy bacteria as early as possible. This process starts even while your baby is growing inside you, roughly around 16 weeks. Colostrum contains 1 to 5 million white blood cells per milliliter. Even on the lower end of the spectrum, that’s 100 times more than what your blood carries! It’s easy to see why it is nicknamed “liquid gold”.

2. Breastfeeding Improves Baby’s Sleep

Scientists have come to know that breast milk during day time is different from the milk overnight. One theory states that breast milk during night hours contains more Oxytocin and other relaxing hormones that keep the baby relaxed and improve sleep. Experts also state that your milk production hits it’s peak around 2-4am. If your baby starts sleeping through the night and you are hoping to keep up a nice freezer stash, these early hours might be a great time to pump!

3. Your Baby’s Swiftly Changing Needs Are Always Met

Your body, breastmilk and your baby are in constant communication via hormones and pheromones that even amaze the most accomplished scientist.

When it’s warm out or your baby is dehydrated, your breasts might produce more liquid. When your little one is hitting a growth spurt or new milestones like crawling, walking or rolling over, your milk might become fattier and contain more protein. Your milk also provides more antibodies for your baby when they are sick.

4. Size Doesn’t Matter

The amount of breast milk you are able to produce has nothing to do with your cup size. A mom with small breasts can have just as much (or more!) milk-making tissue as a mom with large breasts. Most women with implants are able to enjoy breastfeeding as well!

5. Protection For Mom

Mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes, and postpartum depression. Studies show the longer a woman breastfeeds in her lifetime, the more protection she receives. I’ve spent years nursing over the course of my kid’s lives. This is comforting to read for sure!

6. It’s A Workout

Breastfeeding burns between 500-600 calories a day. That means some moms might end up losing weight without any additional exercise. It’s still a good idea to get back to exercising after delivery, but this will definitely be a little extra boost to dropping any pregnancy weight left.

7. It’s Free

Breastfeeding saves a family approximately $2 to 4 thousand dollars annually (compared to cost of formula). Save that money and go on a nice family vacation!

8. Lower SIDS Risk

Breastfed infants are at lower risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

9. Breastfeeding Helps You Heal

Mothers who breastfeed recover from childbirth more quickly and easily. The hormone oxytocin, released during breastfeeding, acts to return the uterus to its regular size more quickly and can reduce postpartum bleeding. How amazing it that?

10. It’s Full Of Important Hormones

  • Melatonin  Varies throughout the day to help your baby wake, sleep, and form a rhythm.
  • Thyroxine  Increases over the first week to mature your baby’s intestines and metabolism.
  • Epidermal Growth Factor – Found in colostrum and helps develop your baby’s GI tract, also very helpful for preemies.
  • Leptin – Higher for the first 180 days to control weight and appetite, influences healthy microbial gut flora.
  • Endorphins – Lowers pain. No wonder your pediatrician suggests to nurse the baby after shots!
  • Oxytocin – Released by the breastfeeding mother. It has a calming effect on you and your baby, decreasing heart rate and blood pressure for you both.

The human body is an amazing thing!

As a professional maternity and newborn photographer in San Diego, I support you however you choose to feed your sweet baby. If you’re interested in capturing this special time in your life, contact Tristan Quigley Photography to schedule your session!

 

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