It’s no secret that I am a proponent of breastfeeding and a fan of breastmilk. My 1-year-old still enjoys mommy milk daily, I am an advocate for milk banks, and I have gone as far as to say during a board meeting ice breaker that my super power is making milk!
Breastmilk cannot be manufactured, and nourishing our babies is just the beginning of what is so fab about all those precious drops. Mama milk can reduce the risk of children developing eczema, asthma, allergies and obesity later in life, while prolonged breastfeeding helps reduce the lifelong risk of heart disease.
But, it wasn’t until I went to session four of Genevieve’s prenatal classes that I tapped into more of the many miracles associated with “liquid gold.” Here are some of them:
Six Marvels of Breastmilk & Nursing
Mind Reader. The complex composition of your unique breastmilk constantly changes to meet the developing nutritional requirements of your baby. A baby’s saliva sends signals to tell mom’s body what he needs.
Germ Fighter. There have been many reports on the health benefits breastmilk offers a baby -- such as antibodies that can build his immune system. As you come into contact with new infections, your baby will automatically get some immunity from them too.
Cancer Preventer. Every time you nurse you reduce your risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Mama Helper. Breastfeeding has a number of other long-term advantages for moms. Nursing can delay the return of your menstrual cycle (mine stayed away nine glorious months), which will help maintain your iron status. And, it often improves your metabolism.
Oxy Booster. Breastfeeding causes your “love hormones” to rise. Scientists have discovered that oxytocin levels go up while women breastfeed. This is thought to help increase your feelings of love towards your child. It also means you slowly forget all the rough bits associated with childbirth.
Nonstop Producer. You don’t need to wait for your milk to refill. Milk is produced around-the-clock so the breast is never empty. In fact, the emptier the breast, the faster the milk production.
This isn’t an all-inclusive list of the amazingness of breastmilk. After my son was born there were several situations when I called to ask my midwife, Genevieve, what to do. I was often surprised and relieved to hear that the answer was… use breastmilk. I applied it to my sore, cracked nipples to relieve pain and help them heal, I put several drops on a rough skin patch on my son’s face to alleviate the dryness, and used it on his minor cuts to prevent infection.
I thought I’d heard all there was to know about breastmilk and then I read a stat from a British article on the benefits of breastfeeding. It stated that breastmilk is different for sons and daughters. Did you know that boys consume more of their mother’s milk than girls, therefore, breastmilk produced for boys contains up to 25% more calories? Even with a year of milk knowledge under my belt I still find that there is much to learn about this super food.
Did I miss one of your favorite mama milk marvels? Please, tell me more.
By Stephanie Bazan
Stephanie is a mama, and freelance writer and graphic designer from Austin, Texas. She enjoys adventures with her husband, 1-year-old son, and shepherd pound puppy.