By Naomi Starsiak
I have what my family calls a Jeopardy brain. I’m really good at remembering odd bits of trivia and bringing them out at random times to amazing and astonish whomever I’m talking to. The best of these trivia bits (in my personal opinion) tend towards birth related topics, and the best wow factor is always facts about breast milk.
Mothers create different kinds of milk for boys vs girl. Boys get a mix that is higher in protein and fat for energy while girls get a mix that is higher in calcium – and generally more milk then a boy.
In a response to her mother-in-law who kept asking, “how long are you going to do that for anyway?”, a veterinarian wrote a paper that was publish in a vet science journal dealing with the average weaning time in mammals. The answer she found was about halfway to sexual maturity. Thank goodness humans tend towards the short side of the bell curve with a modest one – three years!
Breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast cancer in a mom for every year she nurses. The effect is cumulative, so any amount of breastfeeding done is helping to lessen that risk.
Receptors in the skin of the chest will respond to saliva from a baby and, within an hour, change the mix of the breast milk to respond to the baby’s needs, like if there is a cold coming on, the baby is starting a growth spurt, etc.
Breastfeeding has been found to lower the risk of obesity, since babies that nurse from the breast learn from the start the concept of fullness. Babies that are feed from a bottle tend to have caregivers pester them to finish the bottle, while breastfeed babies eat until they are full and are totally in control of how much they eat.
Naomi Starsiak is a birth and postpartum doula, a natural birth consultant, and the co-owner of A Peaceful Birth doula & childbirth service. You can find her on Facebook at facebook.com/APeacefulBirthDoulas.