Interesting facts about breast feeding for mum and bub

While breastfeeding certainly can come with its challenges, it does have incredible benefits for both mum and bub. Certified Fertility Awareness Educator, Ema, shares her favourite are four facts about breast milk. 

Breastfeeding Mum Breastfeeding Tips

Breastfeeding is a big journey for every mother and some face greater challenges than others. Some women are unable to breastfeed or their time feeding may be cut short. No matter what your story is, you should be proud. Being a mother is the biggest job in the world.

I am seven months into my journey and I have finally begun using the Swing Maxi electric breast pump by Medela. I have found it tricky to have any time away for myself, let alone work, as I was always rushing back to feed Zippora. The ongoing juggle of trying to find balance as a mum...

Investing in an electric pump has been a game changer for me. I can slowly start working a few hours again and take an hour here and there for myself each week.

While breastfeeding certainly can come with its challenges, it does have incredible benefits for both mum and bub, here are four facts that I find incredibly interesting:

  1. Colostrum AKA Liquid gold. Colostrum is the first milk your body makes and is often described as liquid gold due to its bright colour and incredible health properties. Colostrum is rich in vitamins, protein and carbohydrates 1,2,3 and is packed full of white blood cells that produce antibodies to help fight off infection in those early days as your baby gets used to a non-sterile world outside your womb4.
  2. Breast milk is packed with vital nutrients. Breast milk continues to contain absolutely everything a baby needs in terms of nutrition for the first six months of their life, which is quite remarkable. Breast milk contains hormones including melatonin5(which helps your baby's circadian rhythm find its rhythm with wake and sleep), growth factors6 (to help form babies digestive tract and other organs) and endorphins7 (which help reduce pain) to name just a few.
  3. Your body will produce antigens to fight illness. During breastfeeding, baby saliva enters the mother’s breast and signals to the mum’s body the health status of her baby {8},9. If her baby is unwell, pathogens will be detected, and the mother’s body begins to create specific antigens to fight this infection10! This unique biochemical synergism boosts a baby's immunity
  4. Breastfeeding has amazing health benefits for mum too! Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer {11),12. Breastfeeding also produces naturally soothing hormones oxytocin and prolactin that promote stress reduction and positive feelings for mum in addition to enhancing the bond and connection with her baby13.

Being a breastfeeding mum is not without its challenges, breastmilk has incredible properties that can help improve the health of both mum and bub. Pumping with the Swing Maxi Double Electric Pump has allowed me a little more ‘me time’ and ensure my milk supply remains stable.

Remember mum’s you’re doing an amazing job!

Ema

BHSc Naturopathy - NHAA

Certified Fertility Awareness Educator - APNA

References

1 Ballard O, Morrow AL. Human milk composition: nutrients and bioactive factors. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2013 Feb;60(1):49-74.

2 Casey CE, Hambidge KM, Neville MC. Studies in human lactation: zinc, copper, manganese and chromium in human milk in the first month of lactation. Am J Clin Nutr. 1985 Jun;41(6):1193-200. 

3 Kulski JK, Hartmann PE. Changes in human milk composition during the initiation of lactation. Aust J Exp Biol Med Sci. 1981 Feb;59(1):101-14.

4 Hassiotou F et al. Maternal and infant infections stimulate a rapid leukocyte response in breastmilk. Clin Transl Immunology. 2013 Apr 12;2(4):e3. 

Sánchez CL, et al. The possible role of human milk nucleotides as sleep inducers. Nutr Neurosci. 2009 Feb;12(1):2-8. 

6 Victora CG et al; Lancet Breastfeeding Series Group. Breastfeeding in the 21st century: epidemiology, mechanisms, and lifelong effect. Lancet. 2016 Jan 30;387(10017):475-90. 

7 Uvnas-Moberg K, et al. Oxytocin, a mediator of anti-stress, well-being, social interaction, growth and healing. Z Psychosom Med Psychother. 2005;51(1):57-80.

8 Ramsay DT et al. Ultrasound imaging of milk ejection in the breast of lactating women. Pediatrics. 2004 Feb;113(2):361-7. 

9 Bode L et al. It’s alive: microbes and cells in human milk and their potential benefits to mother and infant. Adv Nutr. 2014 Sep;5(5):571-3. 

10 Hassiotou F et al. Maternal and infant infections stimulate a rapid leukocyte response in breastmilk. Clin Transl Immunology. 2013 Apr 12;2(4):e3.

11 Li DP et al. Breastfeeding and ovarian cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 40 epidemiological studies. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014;15(12):4829-37. 

12 Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer. Breast cancer and breastfeeding: collaborative reanalysis of individual data from 47 epidemiological studies in 30 countries, including 50302 women with breast cancer and 96973 women without the disease. Lancet. 2002 Jul 20;360(9328):187-95.

13 Neville MC. Physiology of lactation. Clin Perinatol. 1999 Jun;26(2):251-79.