Jul 01 , 2020
We know for the most part that breastfeeding results in added nutrition which results in smarter babies. This also lessens the chances of childhood obesity but, little do we know that breastmilk actually has a lot more to offer!
Here’s one cool fact from an article on The Stranger, “The nutritional and immunological components of breast milk change every day, according to the specific, individual needs of a baby.”
According to Katie Hilde, a biologist, a breastfeeding mother whose baby’s saliva interacts with the receptors of the mammary glands would pick up an adjusted immunological composition of breastmilk. This means that breastmilk naturally changes its own formula to meet the nutritional and biological needs of the baby.
“The antibody content in the mother’s milk contributes not only to the immediate but also to the long term protection of the infant”
This explains why breastfed babies don’t get sick as often as compared to those who are formula-fed.
A study from the Department of Clinical Immunology at the University of Göteborg, Switzerland reads:
“Breastfeeding has been shown to decrease morbidity in gastroenteritis, septicemia, otitis media, urinary tract infection, encephalitis, pneumonia, and necrotizing enterocolitis. The antibody content in the mother’s milk probably contributes not only to the immediate but also to the long term protection of the infant including both resistance to infection and development of immunological tolerance to harmless environmental antigens. "
If that didn’t blow your mind then this next fact may just do the trick.
Nursing actually prevents periods! Yes, you heard it right. During these times your body produces prolactin, a hormone that stimulates milk production. This results in what we call lactational amenorrhea (the absence of fertility and a period while breastfeeding).
But there’s a twist! According to an article by Breastfeeding Place, there are rules for ecological breastfeeding to take place.
First, your baby must be exclusively breastfed. Meaning, no bottles, cups, or pacifiers. Although pumping stimulates the body to produce prolactin in some amount, nursing the baby at the breast is what assures that prolactin levels remain high enough that menses do not return
Aside from refraining from formulas, mothers should sleep and stay together with their babies as much as possible. Co-sleeping increases the frequency of infant feeding and boosts milk supply. Additionally, it allows a mother to get more sleep than mothers whose infants have separate sleep spaces
Lastly, it’s important to note that nursing should be done frequently. Frequent nursing is a minimum of every 2 hours during the day and every 4 hours at night. This applies for the first 6 months of a baby’s life. The frequency can be stretched to every 3 hours during the day and every 6 hours at night for older babies