February 15, 2015

7 Cool facts about breastfeeding

It’s no secret that I’m a lactivist (lactation+activist), but it’s not because I’m anti-formula or disparaging of moms who bottle feed.  It’s simply because, when possible, “breast” really is “best”.  The benefits for both mom and baby are abundant!

7 Cool Facts About Breastfeeding www.bestofbabylady.com

1.) A LA CARTE ANTIBODIES

A child’s immune system isn’t fully developed until they’re around 5 years of age, but it’s especially vulnerable as a baby.  But guess what?  Breast milk acts as a custom-ordered immune guard for your baby.  When mom interacts with her environment, her body will automatically create antibodies for any germs she encounters.  These antibodies are then passed on to the baby through breast milk, thereby offering the little one a great measure of protection against sickness.  How amazing is that?  You are your baby’s first line of defense.

But it gets even cooler.  By now, we all know that there are bad and good bacteria (thank you yogurt commercials), and that maintaining good bacteria is essential for optimal health.  Somehow, a mother’s body knows how to differentiate between good and bad bacteria, and will only make antibodies for the bad guys, while promoting a flourishing gut flora in your baby.  So not only is breast milk defensive, it’s also intelligent in its defense. 

Source

2.) MONEY

Breastmilk is cheap!  The only reason I say cheap instead of free is because you might have to buy some more food for yourself…breastfeeding hunger is no joke.  Formula on the other hand…yikes.  You can easily spend $150 on formula every month, and that’s if you go with the standard stuff.  If you go with specialized formula (like dairy free or organic), we’re talking HUNDREDS of dollars.  All that money for something your body can make on its own (and make better, to boot!)

3.) HASSLE

Imagine this…it’s 2:00am, and the baby starts crying.  She’s hungry and wants to eat NOW.  You have two options:
       a.) Pick her up, nurse her (or if you’re co-sleeping, just roll over)
       b.) Walk to the kitchen, whilst praying you didn’t forget to prep the night-time bottles. Open the fridge door and squint at the bright light that attacks your eyeballs.  Warm the bottle to just the right temperature and then sprint back up stairs because your baby’s cries are now screams.

Ok, maybe I’m over dramatizing this a bit, but there’s certainly a level of convenience that comes with breastfeeding over bottle feeding.  No buying formula, no prepping bottles, no cleaning them (have you tried scrubbing out dried milk from the tip of a bottle nipple?  it’s a pain)…none of that.  Just unveil the goods and you’re done.

4.) BURNING CALORIES…WHILE SITTING

Did you know that for every ounce of milk you produce, you burn 20 calories?  Y’all, that’s my kind of exercise! You end up burning between 200-500 calories a day just by nursing your little babe.  You’d have to run 3-5 miles just to accomplish that if you were bottle-feeding!

5.) PERFECT NUTRITION

Breastmilk is the perfect food for your little one.  Formula does a good job feeding babies too, but because it’s synthetic, it just doesn’t have all of the same properties as breastmilk does.  Not only that, but somehow, a momma’s body knows that her baby’s needs change as he/she grows, and the milk changes with it to accommodate those evolving needs.  Pretty spectacular.  Dr. Sears provides a great comparison between breastmilk and formula here.

6.) HAPPY TIMES

Breastfeeding makes you happy.  And I’m not just talking about the “Oh great, I’m doing something good for my baby” happy…I’m talking oxytocin happy.  Nursing produces a hormone called oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the “bonding” hormone because it’s released through activities like cuddling, kissing, and well…that thing you did to make your baby in the first place.  It makes you feel good.

7.) CANCER PROTECTION

Breastfeeding can actually reduce your risk of breast cancer (especially if you nurse for over a year).  It’s still inconclusive as to why this is (theories include hormone production, diet, or full breast maturation), but do we even need a reason?  Sign me up!

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(NOTE:  This post is not meant to judge women who choose to/need to formula feed.  I understand that not every woman can breast feed and I’m grateful that a good alternative exists.  My intention, instead, is to encourage women who will be or want to be mothers to consider the benefits of breastfeeding.)

 
What benefits have you found from nursing?
 

 

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Iulia is a former educator turned stay-at-home mama of a spunky toddler and a squishy infant. With a touch of sass and a good dose of self-deprecating humor, she has an ever-expanding repertoire of bloopers, insights, stories, and impassioned opinions to share. Iulia likes to think she has this parenting gig figured out, but her littles remind her daily just how far from the truth that is.

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42 Comments

  • anointedtoday@comcast.net'
    Reply Betty February 16, 2015 at 9:25 am

    Awesome points. I like the fact that you pass the important antibodies to your baby while breastfeeding in the beginning. Also, the uterus goes down much faster when nursing. This is a plus.

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 16, 2015 at 9:30 pm

      Ahh yes Betty I totally forgot about the uterus thing!

  • meganbratkovich@gmail.com'
    Reply Megan February 16, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Another point I’ve heard is that your body responds to your baby’s water-intake needs. For instance, if he’s hot or sick, it’ll make milk with higher water content,to help him cool off.

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 16, 2015 at 9:31 pm

      How neat! I didn’t know that…our bodies never cease to amaze me!

  • monaco.nelle@gmail.com'
    Reply nelle monaco February 16, 2015 at 10:41 am

    great tips 🙂 i hope to breast feed when we start a family and really learned a lot from this! thank you so much

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 16, 2015 at 9:32 pm

      Thank you so much! Breastfeeding is hard at first, but wonderful in the long run!

  • monicambooth@gmail.com'
    Reply Monica February 16, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    Great points! I’m 37 weeks today with my first, and I hope so badly to be able to breastfeed. Thankfully there are support groups and consultants in my town who can help if I need it!
    Monica recently posted…I made this: Valentines Cheesecake!My Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 16, 2015 at 9:34 pm

      Monica I so want you to be able to breastfeed! Use every resource you can. I nearly gave up SO many times in the beginning because it was so hard (and frankly, miserable), but ended up eventually loving it…I nursed my son for 2 years and am on month 4 with my daughter. Take advantage of lactation consultants…I think I saw one at last 3 or 4 times before I even left the hospital with my baby!

  • miriamwestland@gmail.com'
    Reply Miriam February 16, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Love the lactivist! I’m loving your site!

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 17, 2015 at 4:25 pm

      Miriam thank you so much for your sweet words! I appreciate your readership 🙂

  • mmstreeter1@gmail.com'
    Reply Michelle February 16, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    I breastfed my three daughters over 20 years ago for all the same reasons you just wrote about. I am an advocate for it as well. The same reasons back then still apply now. Even if you only do it for the first couple of weeks to get the much needed colostrum it is beneficial. Keep encouraging women to consider this.

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 17, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      Yes every little bit counts (especially that colostrum…liquid gold!)

  • mommyzoid@gmail.com'
    Reply Stephanie McDougall @ Mommyzoid February 16, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    There are so many neat facts about breastfeeding that I LOVE sharing with people who don’t know the ins and the outs of it. It’s so fascinating. I wish there was more taught in schools about breasts and breast milk other than the anatomy. It really is so fascinating and the early it is taught the more “duh” you feel about doing it! I remember thinking, “obviously I’ll formula feed because there’s no way I want to flash everyone my breasts and I was formula fed and that’s all I know”. There’s so much more to it that I am fortunate to have learned while pregnant! Lactivists for the win <3

    Stephanie @ mommyzoid

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 17, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      Lactivists for the win…I love it! And also, what a brilliant idea to teach about breastfeeding in schools. It would go such a long way in normalizing it if we started reaching women at a young age! Oh man, I’m getting delusions of grandeur about a national campaign!

  • ifrog4fr@gmail.com'
    Reply Andrea Mitchael February 17, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Lactivist! haha 🙂 Love that! Great graphic, well done, my friend! I loved having the bond with my son when he started to get to be a rambunctious toddler. I ended breastfeeding with him a little after he turned two, because of my pregnancy (personal choice, not required) and am so thankful for the added health benefits for him — he is one of the healthiest kids I know! In regards to convenience — that was a huge factor. I found that although my son breastfed less as he got to be a toddler, it was just so wonderful to have that option in my “toolbelt”. If I didn’t bring enough snack or drink, or he needed to be comforted or calmed, I could easily breastfeed and give that boost. I am so thankful! When I was pregnant with my son I had a friend praying for me that I would be able to breastfeed. I am praying that my sweet little baby #2 will benefit as well 🙂

    Great thoughts! I am looking forward to getting started again!

    PS -I’m so sorry that I’m lethargic on the blog lately — 37 weeks preggo is winding me down — but I look forward to collaborating soon. If you have a Q & A format for a post, I’d be happy to fill in the answers — so far I think that’s all I could handle at this stage! Whew!

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 17, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      Praying that you have a great nursing relationship with #2! And yea, I nursed until I was pregnant too…but then my milk dried up and it was SO painful so we gradually weaned. Also, no worries about the collaboration. I’ totally get the third trimester thing! I was basically useless near my due date. We’ll work something out!

  • creativeaimdesign@gmail.com'
    Reply Amy @ Life to the Full February 17, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    I’m totally a “lactivist”, too! My first baby breastfed til 14 months and, now that he’s nearing 2 years old, I find myself missing the time we had together and all the cuddles. That was my favorite part of breastfeeding – the cuddle time! Now with Baby #2 arriving in a few months, I hope we have an enjoyable nursing experience again!

    Great post and very informative. You mentioned one of the other best parts of breastfeeding: it’s so CHEAP! #mommymoments
    Amy @ Life to the Full recently posted…My First-Ever Manifesto #dishthefitMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 17, 2015 at 4:30 pm

      The cuddles are SO sweet! I hope you have a good nursing experience with #2 also! I’ve had my ups and downs with nursing the second baby (and the first, really), but it’s still wonderful!

  • brittanyw@mail.usf.edu'
    Reply Brittany February 17, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    Breastfeeding is tough, but when you remember all of these facts and why you are doing it…it gives you a little boost to keep going!

  • kristina.olsen@live.com'
    Reply Tina February 17, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    I totally agree with these! I try to remember them when I am frustrated with nursing!

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 17, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      Tina I’m frustrated nearly every day with nursing! It’s not an easy endeavor, but so worth it!

  • sweetlittleonesblog@gmail.com'
    Reply Jess February 19, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Being an adoptive mom, I’ve never had the chance to breastfeed. Maybe someday! The thing that is the worst about formula feeding is the cost. Yuck. But what I love is that my husband and I can take turns feeding the baby every other night…so everyday at least one of us gets a full night’s sleep. 😉 Thankfully, our bottle warmer has a built in cooler so it’s as quick as a snap to feed them when they start crying! Everything you wrote are great points…I’ll have to save it in case I’m given the opportunity to biologically have children someday. Thanks for linking up with us for Tuesday Talk! – Jess
    http://www.sweetlittleonesblog.com
    Jess recently posted…Four Bean Vegetarian ChiliMy Profile

    • jaclyn@beautyandthebinky.com'
      Reply Jaclyn Kent February 19, 2015 at 10:42 am

      You could actually lactate, even without having a biological child! Of course, age plays a part in nursing an adopted child. 😉 Lactation has some crazy cool science behind it; it’s interesting to look up! There’s lots of stories of adoptive parents nursing their adopted children!

  • megdashmade@gmail.com'
    Reply Meg February 19, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Our bodies are just amazing aren’t they! One other cool thing that I was fascinated by is how the milk changes for their needs. I remember a friend nursing her one year old and then falling pregnant and having to wean him earlier than she wanted to because her milk was changing back to newborn milk (towards colostrum) and so wouldn’t be nutritionally appropriate anymore to nurse her toddler. I just found that incredible!!!!! Lovely post, visiting from the Shine Blog Hop. xx
    Meg recently posted…Confetti Balloon InspirationMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 20, 2015 at 10:44 pm

      Amazing indeed! I’ve even heard of moms nursing toddlers exclusively on one side and the baby on the other side, and having different milk produced from each breast. Incredible!

  • jaclyn@beautyandthebinky.com'
    Reply Jaclyn Kent February 19, 2015 at 10:43 am

    I love this! A cool fact that I’d add is that ANYONE can lactate, male/female/given birth/never given birth/etc etc!

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 20, 2015 at 10:45 pm

      Ha! The idea of men lactating is so crazy to me, but I HAVE actually heard of fathers nursing (though I don’t know if I ever really believed it…)

      • jaclyn@beautyandthebinky.com'
        Reply Jaclyn Kent February 21, 2015 at 10:44 pm

        Hahaha I told my husband that he MUST take estrogen supplements and nurse if anything ever happened to me. He laughed, but my new-baby hormones and intense personal responsibility to succeed at breastfeeding were no match for his lackadaisical attitude. The following threat, I mean…conversation, was pretty dramatic. Tears included. Begging not foregone. Oh, postnatal hormones.

  • deliberatemom@gmail.com'
    Reply Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom February 19, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    I loved breast-feeding. My “babies” are far from babies now and I certainly miss the closeness that breastfeeding brought us.

    You mention some wonderful benefits and cool facts here.

    Thanks for sharing and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop.

    Wishing you a lovely day.
    xoxo
    Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…Melissa & Doug, Flip to Win, Memory Game HackMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 20, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      Yes I understand missing that! When my son weaned, I was so sad to give up that nursing bond. Thankfully, he was still quite the snuggler so we still got a lot of “closeness”

  • mrsjschon@hotmail.com'
    Reply Jennifer S. February 19, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    I’ve nursed all of our babies. I’m currently nursing our eighth and love it. Our family is a huge lactivist family. I love that my children are growing up seeing breastfeeding as such a normal way of caring for a baby.
    Did you know that when you have a preemie your milk becomes more suited to the needs of a premature baby than a full-term baby. Also, in the winter it is creamier to give that baby just a little more fat to help stay warm, and in the summer it’s more watery to keep them hydrated.
    The more I learn about breastmilk, the more amazed I am at how perfect it is in every way. Just recently I read that not only am I protecting myself from cancer but my daughters and granddaughters as well. I forget all the science but it was fascinating.
    Jennifer S. recently posted…SurprisesMy Profile

    • Reply Bestofbaby February 20, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      Wow! 8 babies…way to go! And I just can’t stop being amazed at how wonderfully God designed our bodies and how INTELLIGENT our milk is! To know exactly what our babies need at exactly the right time…amazing!

  • sharonrowe@howtogetorganizedathome.com'
    Reply Sharon Rowe February 20, 2015 at 7:47 am

    thanks for sharing on Monday Madness:)

  • Reply Friday File 11 | Healthy Simplicity February 20, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    […] 7 Cool facts about breastfeeding […]

  • jmolson53@gmail.com'
    Reply Jann Olson February 23, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    I was able to breast feed some of my children and others not. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing this with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

  • Reply I'm a Lactivist And I Hated Nursing | helpmywifeispregnant.com May 21, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    […] I fully believe that “breast is best” (at least most of the time), and I will gladly talk your ear …read […]

  • Paul0384774@hotmail.com'
    Reply Sara November 23, 2015 at 4:42 am

    Cool indeed! I love how current research is corroborating what mothers have always instinctively sensed–the benefits of breastfeeding. What an amazing collection of cool facts!

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