5 Amazing Facts about Breastfeeding You Probably Didn’t Know
Breastfeeding not only nourishes a child, but it helps build their immune system and much more. Learn more amazing facts you probably didn’t know about breastfeeding.
You’ve heard it a million times before, “breast is best,” but why is breastmilk so great for babies? What are the benefits mothers receive from nursing? There are so many amazing facts about breastfeeding that you probably didn’t even know. Let’s break down a few of them together.
May Vary By Location
The World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the current U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 all recommend that infants be exclusively breastfed for at least the first six months of their lives. Depending on where a child is born, the likelihood of them being breastfed at all differs greatly. For example, babies living in the Southeast region of the US are less likely to be breastfed at six months than infants living in other areas of our country. In general, rural areas are less likely ever to breastfeed than infants living in urban areas.
When you look at socioeconomic status, low-income children, such as those receiving nutritional assistance like SNAP or WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) are less likely ever to ever be breastfed.
It could be a lack of exposure to other mothers who have successfully nursed or lack of education about breastfeeding. We also have to take into account access to healthcare, resources, and lactation support. Either way, there are disparities that we cannot ignore.
Another example of breastfeeding disparities is the fact that while Hispanic mothers breastfeed at a rate of about 83%, fewer black infants, around 74%, are ever breastfed. Even as a minority in this country, culture and tradition are strong core values for Latinos, which could explain the differentiation in breastfeeding rates.
Whatever the reasoning, we must encourage and empower more mothers to choose breastmilk whenever possible. Breastfeeding for at least six months is known to reduce the risk of asthma, childhood obesity, and diabetes as well. Since the African American population is at an increased risk for these health problems, it's essential that we recognize the lifelong benefits of breastfeeding for your child.
The younger the age of the mother, the less likely she is to breastfeed. New moms over the age of 30 are more likely to choose this feeding option than mothers age 29 or younger. Connecting young mothers to a local prenatal support class early can be very beneficial and lead to a more successful outcome.
While breastfeeding is convenient, doesn’t require any preparation, and is essentially free, many young moms lack the confidence to do so in public. They may also lack the support of their peers or may have to transition back to work and choose formula during this time of transition. Whether exclusively breastfeeding or combo feeding, there is a solution for every mom and baby.
Breastfeeding Helps Moms Too
My last amazing fact about breastfeeding that you probably didn’t know is that a women’s body starts preparing for breastfeeding during pregnancy. Once the baby is born, the act of breastfeeding itself is very beneficial to the mother. Nursing allows your body to recover from pregnancy and childbirth. You can burn up to 500 calories while nursing, and there are certain hormones released while nursing that help your uterus shrink back to its pre-pregnancy size more quickly.
If you are a new mom looking for breastfeeding support or local events that will help you throughout the fourth trimester, I have amazing opportunities for you to connect with me and other parents in the Dallas area. We have a free daytime breastfeeding support group as well as Mommy and Me Yoga weekly.