Preparing to Breastfeed takes time, research and support. Although breastfeeding is a natural and healthy process, it doesn’t come naturally (or easily) to everyone.

Breastfeeding is the perfect food for a growing baby, full of nutrients, antibodies, and a perfect balance of fat and calories. Nursing can also be a rewarding and healthy experience for mom too.

So, here is a list of 5 things that you might not know about breastfeeding

Fact #1: Breastfeeding may reduce your risk of developing breast cancer

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Recent studies showed that pre-menopausal women who breastfed their children were 50 percent less likely to develop breast cancer, compared to women who did not nurse their children. This research also supported a strong correlation between a woman’s duration of breastfeeding and her risk reduction rate – especially for women who nursed longer than one year. Additional research has shown a correlation between women who were breastfed as infants and a lower risk of breast cancer later in life.

Fact #2: Your breast size has nothing to do with the amount of milk you can produce

BREAST-PUMPThe size of your breasts is determined by the amount of fatty tissue they contain. There is no evidence to suggest that women with small breasts (or nipples for that matter) have more problems with low milk production. Milk is produced in the mammary glandsthat are present in all women’s breasts. No matter where you fall on the spectrum of breast sizes, rest assured that their girth (or lack thereof) will have no impact on your ability to produce enough milk for your baby.

Fact #3: Your baby can smell the unique scent of your breast milk

Even-Newborn-Can-Recognize-Mother-LanguageBabies are born with an instinct to suck and root for food, but a newborn’s sense of smell is a strong sense that helps a baby bond with her parents. While baby can smell both of you, she can also detect the distinct smell of her mother’s milk! By simply holding your baby near your chest, she’ll turn her head and root for your breast if she’s hungry. This is nature’s design for a strong nursing relationship!

Fact #4: Your breasts will be ultra sensitive and responsive

Breast pump and Milk Storage bottlesWhen your milk comes in, you can expect a monumental leap in your breast size and sensitivity – no matter how large or small your breasts were before. “Engorgement” can be painful. If you aren’t nursing your baby enough, your breasts may swell up, becoming lumpy and heavy with milk. Many women report their breasts leaking if they think about their baby or hear him crying! Consider pumping and storing that extra milk to help decrease the pain and swelling.

Breast Pump And Milk Storage Bottles

Fact #5: The inability to produce enough milk for your baby is rare

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Although uncommon, some women don’t produce enough milk to avoid supplementing with formula. Usually this deficiency is related to prior breast trauma, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), rapid weight loss or extreme calorie restriction, hyperthyroidism, pregnancy, or the use of hormonal birth control. You can still improve upon what nature gives you. Women with low milk production are encouraged to nurse as often and as long as their baby desires, even if he is just comfort sucking. Any stimulation tells your body to make more milk, which is what you want. Other ideas to increase your supply include: drinking more water, increasing your caloric intake (about 500 more calories than your pre-pregnancy intake), getting more rest, pumping between nursing sessions, or taking a Galactagogue (a fancy word for a medication, substance, or herb that increases your milk production). Common galactagogues include oatmeal, blessed thistle, fenugreek, alfalfa, and prescription medications such as Reglan or Domperidone.
 The right and privilege to breastfeed a baby is irreplaceable and the benefits of nursing are innumerable both for the health of you and your family. So go ahead, enjoy every moment of being a mom, stay healthy, stay safe. 🙂

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