14 Facts About Breastfeeding That Will Blow Your Mind!

You may have heard that breastfeeding gives your baby the best possible start in life. That doesn’t mean that if you choose to feed with formula that you’re doing your baby harm.

Formula companies often compare their product to breastmilk but in actual fact, the two are not comparable. Comparing breastmilk and formula is like comparing cheese and jam – the two just aren’t the same.

In this post we are going to look at 14 seriously incredible facts about breastfeeding as well as the benefits and special powers that breastmilk contains.

baby breastfeeding and looking at mother

Learning about breastfeeding

As a new mum, learning to breastfeed was all about latch and ensuring my baby was getting enough milk, was satisfied and putting on weight. What I didn’t appreciate was all of the extra benefits my breastmilk had and as I continued breastfeeding through the seasons of the year I was constantly coming across incredible tricks that my body was performing to help my baby sleep better, keep them safe, hydrated and happy. This is what led me to train as a breastfeeding counsellor – I just had to deep dive further into the world of breastfeeding and then share my knowledge with parents like me. Knowledge is power my friends and if you know the power of breastfeeding then you’ll be 10 steps ahead of the rest! Or 14 steps rather…

14 Facts about Breastfeeding that will blow your mind

Ok here we go… 14 amazing facts for you!

1. Breastmilk helps you and your baby to sleep because it contains a hormone called melatonin. Your milk is higher in melatonin at night - facilitating easier feeds and deeper sleep for you both! You may be told that formula will help your baby to sleep but that is completely incorrect and based on no evidence. Breastmilk however has been proven to help you and your baby sleep.

 

2. This is one of my favourites. On particularly warm days, your breastmilk changes consistency in the heat to become more watery, so your baby is kept hydrated. As our summers get hotter, this is so important for your baby and reassuring for you to know. If you express milk on a hot day and freeze it then you can use it in future – say, if you’re not breastfeeding anymore and we experience a heatwave then you’ll have ready made hydration that is packed full of goodness to give your baby. You could also try making breastmilk ice lollies as an extra treat for a baby who’s older than 6 months or even your toddler.

 

3. Your body creates antibodies in your milk that are transferred to your baby to protect them. Breastmilk is the best immune protection your baby could wish for as they enter the world! One incredible fact I learnt while breastfeeding is that your body will pick up infection in the environment and create antibodies before you and your baby even catch a bug. That, is TRULY amazing!

 

4. Did you know that those who had the Covid-19 vaccine and were breastfeeding at the time will have also vaccinated their baby against covid? This is because your body develops antibodies after a vaccine and those antibodies will have been passed through the breastmilk during a feed. What I’m saying here is – you are a walking vaccine that is pain free and pure comfort.

 

5. It protects children from many illnesses, including infection, diabetes, asthma, heart disease and obesity, as well as cot death (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). It may also protect your baby from leukaemia. Its natural to worry about your baby’s health and its really good to know that you are doing so much to protect them.

 

6. Parents 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! So, it is a bit of an insurance against your future health.

 

7. You burn calories without having to leave the sofa. Most women put on some weight during pregnancy and it can be hard to shift but breastfeeding can help the weight to drop off much faster without any effort on your part. You burn approximately 500-700 calories per day if you’re exclusively breastfeeding.

 

8. Breastfeeding is a very intimate experience which helps you develop a strong bond with your baby. For both of you it reinforces the strong physical attachment that began during pregnancy and can be maintained after birth. An important benefit that can be overlooked is comfort but comfort is not to be underestimated. By breastfeeding you are providing a different kind of comfort to bottle feeding and this helps elicit a strong hormonal bond between you and your baby.

 

9. When you breastfeed a hormone called oxytocin is released and this helps you feel calm and connected to your baby. This also helps in feeling attached and bonded to your baby. You also produce a hormone called prolactin which is known as the ‘mothering hormone’. If you didn’t intend to breastfeed then oxytocin and prolactin work together to change your intentions at birth and this is known as ‘nature’s trick’.

 

10. You don’t have any of the hassle of needing to sterilise and prepare bottles – whenever your baby is hungry you can provide in an instance. You can go out without so much to remember to pack up and less to carry too. You are quite literally a fast-food restaurant for your baby and you’re by far the healthiest food they could have.

 

11. Did you know that breastmilk is incredibly sweet? This is because we as humans are more inclined to accept sweet foods and this is linked to safety and survival. Sweet berries were safe and sour berries dangerous.

 

12. Did you also know that the smell and taste of your breastmilk changes depending on the foods you eat? Exposing your little one to more flavours during breastfeeding can lead them to be less picky eaters once you begin introducing solids. So don’t be afraid to eat the foods you always loved before you became a parent.

 

13. Breastmilk is not always white. It can be blue, green, yellow (ahem- gold!), pink, or orange. Don’t worry, any of these colours are just fine for your baby.

 

14. Breastfeeding contributes to significant savings to the NHS because it reduces the risk of so many illnesses in children and mothers – not just in infancy but for life. If breastfeeding reduces your chances of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes then think of the impact that could have on the NHS long term.

Learning how to breastfeed

baby breastfeeding and looking at the camera

Pregnant women are often told that breastfeeding will be hard and that they may not be able to. This is really unhelpful because the truth is that when you know how, it’s an easy skill to learn. What makes it hard is:

  1. Women being told to expect to fail. This sets you off on the wrong foot and automatically knocks confidence.
  2. The lack of support when postnatal. There is a serious lack of support when you’re postnatal. You could find that if you’re struggling to breastfeed that you need to seek 121 support and that can be expensive and not possible for some new mothers. This can mean a new mother chooses to end her breastfeeding journey before she’s ready to.

How to find breastfeeding support

baby asleep on mothers chest both wearing white

If you’re struggling to breastfeed then seeking support is so important. The best but most expensive route is a 121 with a lactation consultant. A lactation consultant is highly trained in supporting feeding however the truth is, most issues are easy to fix. You could also try your health visitor however check that they are actually trained in breastfeeding because some aren’t and it’s important they are able to give you good advice and guidance that will actually help you.

You could also try calling the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212.

Watching videos on the basics can help enormously and mean that you have something to follow while at home. The ‘Prepare my mind’ section of the butterbean platform is the best place to go for more information on breastfeeding and beyond. Whether you want advice on breastfeeding positions, understanding your hormones, or how to make sure your baby is getting enough milk, be sure to explore it!

 

Confidence in your choices

I want to finish by reassuring you that if you do find breastfeeding a challenge after birth then that is totally normal. It can be a real knock on a new mothers confidence if feeding doesn’t have a good start however just remember that you are learning a new skill at a time when you are vulnerable, exhausted and overwhelmed and it’s likely you’ll be learning with little support. The best thing you can do is to learn about breastfeeding while you’re pregnant, find your local support and equip yourself with knowledge in your own innate abilities. Your body was able to become pregnant, grow your baby and give birth. Why wouldn’t it be able to feed your baby too?

 

To get started on your feeding journey, head over to our pricing page to join butterbean today.

And if you want to find out how other mothers have tackled feeding then be sure to listen to our podcast ‘Real birth stories’ which is available on Spotify and Apple Music.

mother breastfeeding her newborn baby

14 Facts About Breastfeeding That Will Blow Your Mind!

mother breastfeeding her newborn baby

You may have heard that breastfeeding gives your baby the best possible start in life. That doesn’t mean that if you choose to feed with formula that you’re doing your baby harm.

Formula companies often compare their product to breastmilk but in actual fact, the two are not comparable. Comparing breastmilk and formula is like comparing cheese and jam – the two just aren’t the same.

In this post we are going to look at 14 seriously incredible facts about breastfeeding as well as the benefits and special powers that breastmilk contains.

baby breastfeeding and looking at mother

Learning about breastfeeding

As a new mum, learning to breastfeed was all about latch and ensuring my baby was getting enough milk, was satisfied and putting on weight. What I didn’t appreciate was all of the extra benefits my breastmilk had and as I continued breastfeeding through the seasons of the year I was constantly coming across incredible tricks that my body was performing to help my baby sleep better, keep them safe, hydrated and happy. This is what led me to train as a breastfeeding counsellor – I just had to deep dive further into the world of breastfeeding and then share my knowledge with parents like me. Knowledge is power my friends and if you know the power of breastfeeding then you’ll be 10 steps ahead of the rest! Or 14 steps rather…

14 Facts about Breastfeeding that will blow your mind

Ok here we go… 14 amazing facts for you!

1. Breastmilk helps you and your baby to sleep because it contains a hormone called melatonin. Your milk is higher in melatonin at night - facilitating easier feeds and deeper sleep for you both! You may be told that formula will help your baby to sleep but that is completely incorrect and based on no evidence. Breastmilk however has been proven to help you and your baby sleep.

 

2. This is one of my favourites. On particularly warm days, your breastmilk changes consistency in the heat to become more watery, so your baby is kept hydrated. As our summers get hotter, this is so important for your baby and reassuring for you to know. If you express milk on a hot day and freeze it then you can use it in future – say, if you’re not breastfeeding anymore and we experience a heatwave then you’ll have ready made hydration that is packed full of goodness to give your baby. You could also try making breastmilk ice lollies as an extra treat for a baby who’s older than 6 months or even your toddler.

 

3. Your body creates antibodies in your milk that are transferred to your baby to protect them. Breastmilk is the best immune protection your baby could wish for as they enter the world! One incredible fact I learnt while breastfeeding is that your body will pick up infection in the environment and create antibodies before you and your baby even catch a bug. That, is TRULY amazing!

 

4. Did you know that those who had the Covid-19 vaccine and were breastfeeding at the time will have also vaccinated their baby against covid? This is because your body develops antibodies after a vaccine and those antibodies will have been passed through the breastmilk during a feed. What I’m saying here is – you are a walking vaccine that is pain free and pure comfort.

 

5. It protects children from many illnesses, including infection, diabetes, asthma, heart disease and obesity, as well as cot death (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). It may also protect your baby from leukaemia. Its natural to worry about your baby’s health and its really good to know that you are doing so much to protect them.

 

6. Parents 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! So, it is a bit of an insurance against your future health.

 

7. You burn calories without having to leave the sofa. Most women put on some weight during pregnancy and it can be hard to shift but breastfeeding can help the weight to drop off much faster without any effort on your part. You burn approximately 500-700 calories per day if you’re exclusively breastfeeding.

 

8. Breastfeeding is a very intimate experience which helps you develop a strong bond with your baby. For both of you it reinforces the strong physical attachment that began during pregnancy and can be maintained after birth. An important benefit that can be overlooked is comfort but comfort is not to be underestimated. By breastfeeding you are providing a different kind of comfort to bottle feeding and this helps elicit a strong hormonal bond between you and your baby.

 

9. When you breastfeed a hormone called oxytocin is released and this helps you feel calm and connected to your baby. This also helps in feeling attached and bonded to your baby. You also produce a hormone called prolactin which is known as the ‘mothering hormone’. If you didn’t intend to breastfeed then oxytocin and prolactin work together to change your intentions at birth and this is known as ‘nature’s trick’.

 

10. You don’t have any of the hassle of needing to sterilise and prepare bottles – whenever your baby is hungry you can provide in an instance. You can go out without so much to remember to pack up and less to carry too. You are quite literally a fast-food restaurant for your baby and you’re by far the healthiest food they could have.

 

11. Did you know that breastmilk is incredibly sweet? This is because we as humans are more inclined to accept sweet foods and this is linked to safety and survival. Sweet berries were safe and sour berries dangerous.

 

12. Did you also know that the smell and taste of your breastmilk changes depending on the foods you eat? Exposing your little one to more flavours during breastfeeding can lead them to be less picky eaters once you begin introducing solids. So don’t be afraid to eat the foods you always loved before you became a parent.

 

13. Breastmilk is not always white. It can be blue, green, yellow (ahem- gold!), pink, or orange. Don’t worry, any of these colours are just fine for your baby.

 

14. Breastfeeding contributes to significant savings to the NHS because it reduces the risk of so many illnesses in children and mothers – not just in infancy but for life. If breastfeeding reduces your chances of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes then think of the impact that could have on the NHS long term.

Learning how to breastfeed

baby breastfeeding and looking at the camera

Pregnant women are often told that breastfeeding will be hard and that they may not be able to. This is really unhelpful because the truth is that when you know how, it’s an easy skill to learn. What makes it hard is:

  1. Women being told to expect to fail. This sets you off on the wrong foot and automatically knocks confidence.
  2. The lack of support when postnatal. There is a serious lack of support when you’re postnatal. You could find that if you’re struggling to breastfeed that you need to seek 121 support and that can be expensive and not possible for some new mothers. This can mean a new mother chooses to end her breastfeeding journey before she’s ready to.

How to find breastfeeding support

baby asleep on mothers chest both wearing white

If you’re struggling to breastfeed then seeking support is so important. The best but most expensive route is a 121 with a lactation consultant. A lactation consultant is highly trained in supporting feeding however the truth is, most issues are easy to fix. You could also try your health visitor however check that they are actually trained in breastfeeding because some aren’t and it’s important they are able to give you good advice and guidance that will actually help you.

You could also try calling the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212.

Watching videos on the basics can help enormously and mean that you have something to follow while at home. The ‘Prepare my mind’ section of the butterbean platform is the best place to go for more information on breastfeeding and beyond. Whether you want advice on breastfeeding positions, understanding your hormones, or how to make sure your baby is getting enough milk, be sure to explore it!

 

Confidence in your choices

I want to finish by reassuring you that if you do find breastfeeding a challenge after birth then that is totally normal. It can be a real knock on a new mothers confidence if feeding doesn’t have a good start however just remember that you are learning a new skill at a time when you are vulnerable, exhausted and overwhelmed and it’s likely you’ll be learning with little support. The best thing you can do is to learn about breastfeeding while you’re pregnant, find your local support and equip yourself with knowledge in your own innate abilities. Your body was able to become pregnant, grow your baby and give birth. Why wouldn’t it be able to feed your baby too?

 

To get started on your feeding journey, head over to our pricing page to join butterbean today.

And if you want to find out how other mothers have tackled feeding then be sure to listen to our podcast ‘Real birth stories’ which is available on Spotify and Apple Music.