Breast milk is incredible. It’s been inspiring our research for 40 years. The more we learn, the more unexpected and amazing properties are revealed. Here are 7 facts about breast milk.
7 Wonderful Facts About Breast Milk
- Your breast milk is totally unique to you
Its composition is determined by factors including your diet, hormones, genetics, environmental influences, and your needs and that of your baby.
- Your baby recognises the smell of your breast milk
The scent of your breast milk prompts your newborn to show searching behaviours. And, amazingly, they can sense and process information contained in your milk.
- Your breast milk can help your baby sleep
As your hormone levels change throughout the day, so do the levels in your breast milk. This means, for example, that in the evening your milk will pass on sleep-inducing hormones to your baby.
- Breastfeeding makes your “love hormones” rise
The skin-to-skin contact of breastfeeding is thought to help with bonding. Scientists have also discovered that while you breastfeed your oxytocin levels go up, which is thought to help increase your feelings of love for your child.
- Breast milk helps your baby have a healthier future
Breast milk is filled with germ-fighting antibodies. It can reduce the risk of developing eczema, asthma, allergies and obesity in later life. Prolonged breastfeeding may also help reduce the lifelong risk of heart disease.
- Breast milk instills healthy eating habits
Your diet can directly influence the composition of your breast milk. The foods you eat while breastfeeding could influence the tastes your baby enjoys during weaning and beyond.
- Breast milk is different for sons and daughters
Did you know that boys consume more of their mother’s milk than girls? And amazingly, the breast milk produced for boys contains 25% more calories than for girls.
We still don’t know how milk becomes naturally tailored to each baby’s needs. There’s much more research needed, but there is no doubt that breast milk is wonderful.