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10 things you should know about breastfeeding

I wouldn’t say I’m an expert on breastfeeding but I do have a PhD in Googling.  So in my total two years or so of breastfeeding I came across a lot of trivia!

And because I’m a trivia nerd, I’m compiling a list of things I learned and making you read it wtf.

10. Breastfeeding puts baby to sleep

Every mom knows the easiest way to put a baby to sleep is stick a boob in his mouth and eventually he’ll drift off to dreamland.  But do you know why?  Here’s where you insert a lot of science jargon but basically it has to do with the hormones in the milk.  At night, higher amounts of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone has been found in breast milk than in the day time, which makes putting baby to sleep easier.  And you can get the rest you need!

9. Breastfeeding puts MOMMY to sleep

There is a proper reason besides you being so exhausted that you just fall asleep the minute you sit still.  And that is that breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin which can make you feel relaxed, loved and sleepy. 🙂 I like to think of it as our bodies taking care to make sure we get enough rest to with a baby around.

8. Breast milk is tailored to baby’s needs

Right after you give birth, your breasts produce colostrum, a special milk which is lower in volume but high in nutrients.  Colostrum provides special antibodies needed by a newborn immediately after birth. And as baby grows, breast milk composition changes to match what baby needs.

Heck, it even changes during lactation! During the first few minutes of a feed, foremilk is released which is thinner and more watery to quench baby’s thirst.  The later milk is called hind milk and is fattier, which will satiate the baby and keep him full.

7. Your diet doesn’t affect the composition of your breast milk

So for example, even if you don’t eat oranges, your baby will still get her full quota of Vitamin C. Hahaha. That’s because your body prioritizes the needs of your baby and makes sure your milk contains the full complement of goodness your baby needs to thrive.  The bad news is that if you don’t eat well, you will deprive your own body of nutrients because the good stuff is all going to the baby.  So eating well and healthily is still a must; it’s just that you do it for yourself.

6. Breastfeeding is not just good for baby, it’s good for mom too

Research has shown that breastfeeding may help ward off breast and ovarian cancers! BRB shoving boob into Penny’s mouth.

The oxytocin released during breastfeeding helps the uterus contract, helping you return to your pre-preggers figure.  And prolactin, the hormone linked to milk production makes you feel happy and fuzzy, keeping post natal blues at bay.

And let’s not forget that breastfeeding is supposed to burn 500 calories a day!  This (and Marie France) is what I attribute to helping me lose my baby weight so quickly.

5. No period!

The milk-making hormone, prolactin, suppresses ovulation which means no period!  I actually never got my period until I got pregnant with Penny.  And my period is still MIA right now which means I haven’t had it since… Dec 2012 LOLOL.  I love it because it’s one less thing to worry about.
6. Breastfeeding is not birth control
However, breastfeeding is not a reliable method of birth control ok.  As I found out the hard way wtf.  I did not have my period but I apparently ovulated anyway because… we conceived Penny hahaha.
5.  Kissing your baby changes your breast milk
Whaaat? According to an article I read, apparently the irresistible urge to cover your baby in kisses serves a biological purpose. When a mother kisses her baby, she samples the pathogens on baby’s face, which then travel to mom’s lymphatic system. Mom’s body then creates antibodies to fight those pathogens, which baby receives through breast milk. Astounding!
4. Breast milk has the power to neutralize HIV. 
This was also something I did not know until recently.  Researchers found that isolated antibodies from B cells in breast milk, “can generate neutralizing antibodies that may inhibit the virus that causes AIDS.” Source.  The findings were discovered in an effort to learn why only 1 in 1o HIV positive mothers transmits HIV to her baby via breast milk, when breastfeeding provides so much exposure in spreading pathogens.
3. You will have nipples of steel
There is no doubt that breastfeeding is crazy hard, especially in the early weeks!  You will swear your nipples cry actual tears but don’t worry they will man up!  If you still feel pain after a few weeks, the latch could be wrong and you should probably seek medical advice.
 2.  Pumping and latching are different

I know a lot of moms worry about not having enough milk because when they pump, only a certain amount is produced which may not seem enough.  But a baby is the best extractor of milk so what you pump out is not a good gauge of what your baby is really consuming.  If baby seems contented, that’s enough. 🙂

1. Your mom level does not depend on breastfeeding alone

Every mom’s breastfeeding journey is different.  It may be happy, bonding, frustrating, depressing even.  Whatever it is, my guess is it is almost always emotional.  Breastfeeding can be the most rewarding thing you’ve done or the most taxing and depressing.  Whatever it may be, remember that how you feed your child does not determine your worth as a mother.  You are the only person who knows how to be the best mom to your child.

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This post is in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.

  • Maria Shevtsova

    Here’s an informative article to calm down breastfeeding moms, because there are some rumours you shouldn’t believe in: http://motherhow.com/breastfeeding-dont-believe-in-rumors/

  • Angie Chong

    Point 6, I actually read from somewhere else, how breast milk works more effective for a sick baby from direct latching. There is a receptor somewhere in our boobs and in the process when baby suckles and releases, the saliva travels into our boobs and send virus info to receptor. Our body then produce the antibodies to fight the infection through baby’s next latching session.. Haha dunno which is true…

  • fourfeetnine

    Thank you for sharing!

  • fourfeetnine

    Ya I read that too! It is true, it was based on research 😀

  • http://jonbearandcarlyngirl.blogspot.com.au/ c.brody

    That was a very informative post. I never knew all that stuff about breast milk.

  • Dona

    Nice blog 🙂 and I love this article!
    Posts like this one are very important! I am a mom who breastfed three kids! I saw so many articles about breastfeeding! they are mostly hopeless! This one is good 🙂 Breastfeeding is not that easy! Every woman who is pregnant or a new mom should read something but it must be something good what will make her self-confident and aware of what breastfeeding means! I can’t imagine breastfeed my both kids if I didn’t read HOW TO MAKE BREASTFEEDING PLEASANT AND EASY guide by S. Urban! If anybody wants to read something worth to read here is a website where I have found the guide: http://www.parental-love.com

  • Kim Blom

    Dona this guide is the best one! I have read a lot about breastfeeding and only this one answered all my questions and made me confident! Thank you for sharing the title and the link 🙂

  • Avril Green

    Very informative and sweet guide 🙂 It was such a pleasure to read it and I feel ready now 🙂