In honour of World Breastfeeding Week, we've dug up the curious facts about the sometimes-not-so-wonderful world of nursing...
Here’s a PSA that everyone needs to hear: breastfeeding is probably the toughest thing you’ll do after labour. Yes, it’s supposed to be a natural, beautiful experience, but it also comes with a lot of challenges. And yet women who choose to breastfeed still often lack the support they need. Sadly we continue to hear stories about mums being shamed for nursing in public, not to mention mums who get grief for not being able to breastfeed their baby, or for choosing not to breastfeed. Being a mum is tough enough without the constant judging! Which is why we’re celebrating World Breastfeeding Week at the moment. The HoneyKids mums are patting one another on the back for acing breastfeeding, hugging those who wanted to breastfeed but couldn’t, and making a stand for #fedisbest. So, because it’s WBW, and because humour is the best medicine for cracked nipples, we’ve come up with 10 things you probably never knew about breastfeeding…
1. Hurrah! You can finally pass on the nursing duties to daddy (not really)
In 2002, it was reported that a 38-year-old Sri Lankan man was able to breastfeed his two infant daughters after his wife sadly passed away. Don’t pass the nursing cover to the hub just yet – although men DO have the ability to produce milk, it only happens under extreme circumstances. Does mummy needing to step out for a glass of Prosecco count?
2. Your nipples are a holey-wonder
If you’ve ever seen your nipples in action while pumping, you’ll know that breastmilk sprays out of more than one hole – four to twenty per boob to be exact. This explains all those times you’ve accidentally sprayed your little one with a renegade stream of milk. Next time you breastfeed, try to get as much of the areola as you can in your babe’s mouth, not just the tip of the nipple. We guarantee there’ll not only be more milk for baby this way, but also way less chance of accidentally spraying whoever is sitting next to you on the sofa during feeding time.
3. Breastmilk (mostly) tastes sweet
If you’re a breastfeeding mum, you’ve probably tasted your milk once or twice, so you’ll know it’s pretty sweet. It contains the milk sugar lactose, which gives it its saccharine flavour. How your milk tastes also depends on what you eat, which is why many doctors and lactation consultants recommend a varied diet so your baby won’t be a picky eater. Probably best to limit your vindaloo intake…
4. Most mums are righties
Wondering why your right boob produces more milk than the other? You’re not alone. Research shows that almost 75% of all mums produce more milk in their right boob – and it doesn’t matter if they’re right handed or left handed. Weird! HoneyKids mum, Tracy’s reaction to this was “Really? I am not surprised at all. My left boob was rubbish. I had endless issues with it during breastfeeding, and now it looks like a deflated balloon, while my right one remains relatively perky.” We challenge you not to stare at her cleavage in light of this info next time you see her…
5. Big boobs don’t mean more milk
Just because you’re lacking in the boob department, doesn’t mean that you’re not producing enough milk for your babe. Milk glands are all that matters when it comes to milk production, not breast size.
6. Workout? What workout?
When you’re breastfeeding, your body is working twice as hard, which helps you burn up to 500 calories each day. No need to head to the gym: hurrah! And anyway, too much exercise may increase lactic acid in breast milk, which in turn may make your mummy milk less palatable to your tiny person. Also, you’re going to need to up your calorie intake while breastfeeding too because you WILL get hangry! So exercise less, and eat more. Best news ever.
7. You can use breastmilk to battle the nasties
Just in case you haven’t heard about the miraculous healing properties of breastmilk, here’s what you missed out on: research shows that breastmilk not only fights bacteria, it also helps boost immunity and adjusts your baby’s body to allergies. Another super cool fact is that it adapts itself to the specific needs of the baby it’s being fed to. So when your baby’s sick, your breastmilk changes and creates antibodies to fight off the nasties! Pretty awesome right?
8. Mums can co-nurse the same baby
Here’s the good news: if you’re in a same-sex relationship, both you and your partner can nurse your little one, even if your partner wasn’t the one who gave birth to the baby. It goes without saying that we mean same-sex female partners here. It’s also possible for mums who’ve adopted a baby to breastfeed. This must be done under the supervision of a doctor, as taking medications such as medroxyprogesterone will be required to encourage the flow. Amazing, huh?
9. The girls are always ready
While you may feel like your mammaries are drier than the Sahara desert once baby has done a milk marathon, the fact is they are never empty. They’re making milk ALL of the time. Texan Alyse Ogletree certainly had no issues on the supply score: she holds the world record for most breastmilk donated. 53,081 ounces to be precise – that’s 2,654 venti Starbucks cups!
10. Don’t beat yourself up about how you feed your baby
For some, breastfeeding alone, or even at all just isn’t the best option. Listen to your instincts and consult your pediatrician about your feeding routine. What’s important is that you’re doing what’s best for you and your baby – fed is best!
All in all, boobs are pretty amazing, don’t you think?
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Is breast always best? What I’ve learnt from breastfeeding three kids
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