For the first six months of a baby's life, no other food is better for his/her growth and development, than mother's milk. In fact, majority of the doctors encourage new mothers to feed their baby with their own milk.
There’s no reason why a mother should hesitate in nursing her baby. Breastfeeding ensures better health and growth in babies. We have listed 10 facts related to breastfeeding and mother's breast milk.
Hormones triggers breast milk: Most people think of pregnant women as being hopped up on hormones, but as the body is born (removing the placenta), a major drop in hormones occurs. This allows a hormone called prolactin to activate, which signals to your breasts that it's milk-making time.
Breastfeeding could lower risk for childhood obesity: A couple of years ago, a study broke that proposed breastfeeding leads to better eating habits in preschool aged children. Kids who were bottle-fed — even if they were drinking pumped breast milk — were less able to tell when they were full, so they kept eating. Scientists believe that it's more of a behavioral link, than a nutritional one.
Breast milk needs water: Women who breast feed are more thirsty than normal, and the USDA recommends that they drink one glass of water for every breastfeeding session.
Breast milk glands grow during the second trimester: Your breasts are ready to produce milk during the second trimester when sac-like glands grow, thanks to an increase in estrogen, lactogen, and other hormones. Once your baby is born and starts suckling, prolactin is activated, which then spurs on another hormone called oxytocin, which releases milk.
Breast milk can't be duplicated: Breast milk is always changing, and it can't be duplicated. No two mothers have the same breast milk, and breast milk taken from one woman during one part of the day won't even be the same as a sample taken from the same woman later in the day. The actual make-up of your breast milk changes from feeding to feeding. When your baby first starts feeding, your milk contains mostly lactose and proteins, and is a bluish color. At the end of the feeding, your baby starts drinking hindmilk, which is mostly made up of fat and gives your baby the calories it needs.
Breastfeeding can cause pain: Though a mild pain while breastfeeding is okay, but severe pain that lasts beyond 5-6 days needs medical attention.
Breast milk contains major types of protein: Your breast milk contains two main types of protein, called whey and casein. There's more whey protein than casein, and it has the greatest infection-fighting powers. If you use formula, make sure the whey-to-casein protein matches natural breast milk, or your baby could have a higher chance of infections and have trouble digesting milk.
Your breasts will always produce enough milk: Remarkably, your breasts will only produce as much milk as your baby needs, no more and no less. When you start breastfeeding, your breasts will start producing more milk, but as feedings slow down, your body just naturally stops producing it
Your breast milk contains as many vitamins as you take: One common misconception about breast milk is that it's inherently superior to formula, simply because it's natural. But breast milk only contains the vitamins that are already in your body, which is why it's important for pregnant and nursing women to take supplements and eat a healthy diet to get enough Vitamin A, D, E, K, C, riboflavin, niacin and panthothenic acid.
Alcohol is present in your breast milk: If you plan on breastfeeding, you need to be conscious of your alcohol intake even after you give birth. Alcohol is present in your breast milk, just as it is in your blood stream. Drinking isn't prohibited, but it's recommended that you have only a drink or two a few hours before breast feeding, so that your body can metabolize the alcohol. If you drink more, pump your breast milk so that feedings aren't interrupted and your baby's health isn't compromised.
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