Prematurity Awareness Month

Every expectant mom’s first and foremost wish for her unborn child is health. When complications occur and babies are born prematurely, it can be a traumatic and life-changing incident for the family, especially the baby. Premature births can have serious complications that affect babies for a lifetime which is why the March of Dimes has designated November as Prematurity Awareness Month and November 17 as National Prematurity Day.

According to the March of Dimes, over 350,000 babies are born prematurely in the U.S. every year. While the premature birth rate is on the decline over the past several years, premature births still significantly impact families, businesses, the health care system and most of all, the health of babies.

Prematurity Awareness MonthPremature birth is defined as babies that are born prior to 37 weeks of gestation. Babies continue to grow and develop throughout pregnancy and some vital growth occurs in the final weeks in the womb. According to the CDC, premature birth is the leading cause of infant death in the U.S.  Preemies often spend their first days, weeks and months in the NICU where they can be cared for and protected as they continue to develop. The goal is to give them time to grow into healthy babies.

However, long term birth defects may result from premature births including respiratory conditions, hearing and vision loss, digestive issues, cerebral palsy and other mental disabilities. The chance of birth defects increases when babies are very premature, which is any birth prior to 32 weeks of gestation.

Some premature births are unforeseen, are not brought on by the actions of a pregnant mother and are unavoidable. While premature births are not desired by anyone and are often sudden and surprising, there are risk factors that mothers should be aware of to help avoid the onset of premature delivery. Prematurity Awareness Month brings attention to these important risk factors and risky behaviors to help mothers become more vigilant of their health to protect their babies.

Risk factors for premature birth include:

  • Having multiples
  • Having a previous premature baby
  • Complications or infections during pregnancy
  • Chronic maternal health conditions such as diabetes, organ problems or high blood pressure
  • Consumption of alcohol, illegal drugs or smoking during pregnancy

If you have any of these risk factors or even if you don’t, taking steps to avoid a premature birth is crucial. Start by eating a healthy pregnancy diet and avoiding alcohol, drugs (including unapproved prescription or OTC medications) and smoking. Plus, take prenatal vitamins and exercise regularly at a safe fitness level for you. Discuss your existing health conditions and pregnancy complications with your doctor often. You’ll both want to keep a close watch on how they are affecting your baby. It is likely that you will be monitored more closely than other pregnant women and you may be sent to specialists. Additionally, you should be more sensitive to signs of preterm labor, such as early contractions, cramping, abdominal pressure, discharge or bleeding, and notify your doctor immediately if any of them arise.

Be your own advocate for doing everything you can to carry your baby as long as possible. Barring a medical emergency, discuss all angles with your doctor before agreeing to an early delivery. The best outcomes occur when babies are allowed to decide when they want to emerge into the world. And should you have an unexpected premature baby, remember that breast milk is the very best nutrition for preemies and can greatly improve their health outcomes. As soon as you and your baby are stable, ask your nurses about breastfeeding or pumping so you can provide this nutritious, healing superfood for your baby.

Take this opportunity during Prematurity Awareness Month to familiarize yourself with the risk factors of preterm birth and health practices you employ to avoid the premature birth of your baby.

Sources: March of Dimes and Centers for Disease Control

 

World Breastfeeding Week: Breastfeeding for Health & Well-Being

Happy World Breastfeeding Week, everyone!  We are thrilled to celebrate this week every year, although our mission to promote breastfeeding is a year round goal.  As we dive into World Breastfeeding Week 2016, we will be exploring different aspects of the theme, Breastfeeding, a key to sustainable development.  Today we are talking about how breastfeeding supports the health and well-being of babies and mothers.

The Benefits of Breastfeeding for Babies

We could talk for days about the health and wellness benefits of breastfeeding for babies.  The short story is that breastfeeding meets the number one basic requirement for human infant survival – food.  But we all know that breastfeeding is so much more than your average meal.  It seems that every month new studies reveal even more incredible advantages of breastfeeding for the immediate and long-term health of children.  Breast milk is a powerful resource for sustained health because it contains hundreds of nutrients that babies need to thrive outside of the womb.  In fact, breast milk is the very best nutrition for babies on the planet and it evolves to meet the nutritional needs of your baby’s development.

World Breastfeeding Week: Breastfeeding for Health & Well-BeingOne of the most phenomenal ways that breast milk supports babies is through antibodies.  As babies have very weak and immature immune systems at birth, breast milk helps protect them from the many pathogens that could harm a newborn.  This is especially important for preemies.  When babies do get sick, breast milk adjusts to give them more antibodies, antioxidants and other essential nutrients to heal and recover.

Additionally, breastfeeding has been linked to improved physical health from infancy through adulthood.  Overall, people who were breastfed as babies are healthier during their entire lifetime.  Breastfed babies have reduced risk of certain types of cancers, diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, respiratory problems, ear infections, allergies, obesity, tooth decay, SIDs, multiple sclerosis and a host of other bacterial and viral infections.  Breastfeeding supports every aspect of physical health, from helping to stabilize organ function and bone, teeth and muscle development, to relieving pain and metabolizing nutrients more efficiently in the body.

Emotionally, breastfeeding supports a baby’s innate need for love, touch and safety.  Breastfeeding promotes bonding between mothers and babies, which encourages feelings of security and helps uninhibit other areas of growth and development.  Breastfeeding requires closeness and skin-to-skin contact so babies are calmed and soothed by their mothers’ heartbeat, warmth and tender touch.  Babies who are breastfed also tend to sleep better, which lends itself to many benefits as well.

From a cognitive and behavioral standpoint, breastfeeding can be extremely advantageous.  Studies show breastfed babies perform better in school, have higher IQs and earn greater academic achievements, plus they have better speech development on the whole.  Social development is also stronger in babies who are breastfed, according to research data.

The Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mothers

Babies aren’t the only ones who win when it comes to breastfeeding.  Mothers benefit greatly from breastfeeding too.  Because mothers who breastfeed have less menstrual cycles and therefore fewer “doses” of specific hormones in their system, they have a lower risk of certain types of cancer including breast cancer, ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer.  Breastfeeding reduces the likelihood or severity of osteoporosis, anemia and postpartum hemorrhage in moms.  Plus, nursing mothers have an easier time bonding with their babies and adjusting to the new family member, and quicker recovery after childbirth as breastfeeding encourages uterine contractions that releases the extra blood stored during pregnancy.  Moms who breastfeed tend to have less postpartum depression because breastfeeding releases endorphins that help keep mothers in a happier state.

 

The seemingly endless health and well-being benefits of breastfeeding for babies and mothers are nothings short of extraordinary.  This sustainable resource, the almighty breast milk, has incredible powers to protect, heal and advance the health and wellness of mothers and babies.  As parents, this is a top priority for our families.  We hope World Breastfeeding Week helps shed more light on these and many other benefits of breastfeeding for sustainable development.

Breastfeeding for your Baby’s Healthy Gut

We often share the amazing benefits of breastfeeding on our blog.  For your baby, breast milk is the number one superfood on the planet and is designed to meet her exact nutritional requirements.

New research published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology shows that breastfeeding is especially healthy for your baby’s gut.  In discovering how babies use breast milk to improve gut bacteria, researchers have also uncovered how they may be able to replicate it with cow’s milk.

Every human being has trillions of microbes that live in the digestive tract.  According to the latest studies, this healthy bacteria influences much about our biological health including our immune system, metabolism, nutritional absorption and physiology.  The community of microbes in the digestive system is referred to as the gut microbiome and there’s a lot riding on this tiny population.

Breastfeeding for your Baby’s Healthy Gut

Babies have a non-existent gut microbiome until the moment they are born.  Bacteria passed from mother to baby during vaginal delivery is the first opportunity for babies to build this important network.  That’s why recent research acknowledges the benefits of exposing babies born via C-section to vaginal bacteria from their mothers.  The birthing process is a vital first step in protecting babies and beginning to establish their gut microbiome.

Beyond birth, the leading source of nourishing a baby’s gut microbiome is through breastfeeding.  Breast milk contains glycoproteins that introduce bacteria from the mother and her diet into the baby’s digestive system.  Glycoproteins are made up of protein and sugars known as oliosaccharides.  Specific bacterium are produced that help infants and young children develop enzymes that strengthen their bodies.  One crucial enzyme called EndoBI-1 was determined to come from the oliosaccaride sugars found in glycoproteins.

Identifying the source of EndoBI-1 from breast milk compounds is breakthrough on several levels.  First, it better informs medical professionals about how breastfeeding improves a baby’s overall health, starting with the gut microbiome.  And it proves that breast milk has evolved with the human species.  Pretty phenomenal!  But it also has greater implications for babies who cannot or are not breastfed.

Researchers now believe that non-breastfed babies can benefit from these findings as well.  If formula products incorporate oliosaccharides, they can break down cow’s milk in a similar way to a human mother’s milk.  This would give formula-fed babies some of the same advantages as breastfed babies when it comes to a healthy gut.

This latest study was conducted by a team led by Professor David A. Mills, PhD, the Shields Endowed Chair in Dairy Food Science.

Top 10 Ways Breastfeeding is Good for the Planet

Breastfeeding is one of the most natural acts in the world and a tremendously nutritious renewable resource.  Animals across the globe do it without thinking twice.  As we celebrate Earth Day tomorrow, we’ll all be contemplating ways to take cues from nature, improve our environment, and help the planet.  We can’t think of a more ecological and naturally healthy way to celebrate than breastfeeding.

In honor of Earth Day we’re sharing our top 10 ways breastfeeding is good for the planet:

10 – No manufacturing required:  Breastfeeding is a manufacturing-free experience.  Well, unless you count the hard work it takes you to make breast milk.  Manufacturing formula, formula dispensers, bottles and bottle accessories all take a toll on the environment, from factory and transportation emissions, toxic waste and water pollution, to non biodegradable materials used in the manufacturing and packaging process.

9 – No contamination:  When you breastfeed, you know exactly what you are giving your baby.  There’s nor risk of contamination through manufacturing, packaging, shipping and living on the shelves at a store.  When you think about it this way, the purity of breastfeeding takes new meaning.

breastfeeding good for planet__1458691543_162.206.228.388 – No shopping required:  Your breast milk is always available, anytime day or night.  Forget extra trips to the grocery store to buy feeding supplies.  You have everything you need right on your body.

7 – No plastics required:  Breastfeeding is plastic-free.  Plastics are not easily bio-degradable and therefore remain for years taking up space in landfills.  Even when you pump and store milk, the plastic impact on the planet is far less than the alternative.

6 – No packaging waste:  Breastfeeding simply requires you and your baby without the fuss of packaging.  Therefore, you’ll have no disposable packaging waste.

5 – Less energy required:  Breast milk is always the right temperature…your temperature.  Save energy on warming bottles by breastfeeding.

4 – Less water required:  Breast milk is made of water but it’s the water you are already drinking.  Formula requires water to make and water for warming the bottle.  In some countries, water is a precious commodity and hard to come by.  Conserving water is great for our planet.

3 – Delayed Menstruation:  Breastfeeding moms typically do not return to regular menstrual cycles for an average of 14 months.  Less menstruation creates less waste on sanitary products.

2 – Less healthcare impact:  Because breastfeeding offers phenomenal health benefits for babies and mothers, both get sick less.  This means they aren’t taxing the healthcare system, which requires tons of resources and money.

1 – Resources can be used elsewhere:  When poor health, land and air pollution and waste disposal are less of a burden on our communities, resources can be spent improving our environment in other ways.

Join us in celebrating Earth Day by breastfeeding!  Happy Earth Day!

100 Benefits of Breastfeeding Part 5

breastfeeding 3__1458691269_162.206.228.38Today is our last installment of our series on the 100 benefits of breastfeeding.  We’re thrilled to share the extraordinary powers that breastfeeding and breast milk can bring to babies, mothers, families and the world.  We hope this list has amazed and inspired you to breastfeed and advocate for breastfeeding.  Above all, we hope you see these numerous benefits of breastfeeding as the gift that keeps giving, and perhaps the most loving act a mother could ever do for her child.

81 – Breastfed babies tend to have a higher IQ and greater cognition in childhood and adulthood.  This goes for both intelligence level and academic achievement.

82 – Studies show social development is more advanced in babies who are breastfed for at least one year.

83 – Breastfeeding promotes oral motor development.  Babies who are exclusively bottle-fed may develop tongue thrust problems that can lead to improper mouth posture and strength. Breastfed babies statistically have better speech development.

84 – Breast milk can be used as a healing ointment for the entire family. It has powerful antimicrobial agents that are excellent for treating a variety of skin wounds including bites, stings, burns, rashes, cuts and infections.

85 – Breast milk can be used to improve your baby’s clogged tear ducts by simply rubbing it into the infected area.  It is also a great way to treat conjunctivitis (pinkeye) and can be used as a contact lens solution.

86 – For ear infections, drop breast milk into the ear canal to help relieve pain and encourage quicker healing.

87 – When your baby has a cold or congestion, gently squirt breast milk into his nose to clear nasal passages.

88 – Breast milk can help your baby if he has a sore throat.  It can even be gargled by other family members with sore throats to kill off bacteria that are causing symptoms.

89 – Breast milk is a superb anti-inflammatory, which can help clear up baby acne, alleviate eczema and keep your baby’s skin soft and smooth.  Many adults also use it as a facial cleanser or moisturizer to keep skin looking younger and more vibrant.

90 – Breastfeeding a first child often makes it easier to breastfeed subsequent children.  If your younger children are born prematurely or tend to get sick more often, being a veteran breasttfeeder will really come in handy.

91 – Breastfeeding is better for the environment because it requires no packaging, shipping or traveling to purchase supplies.

92 – Breastfeeding uses less water because none is required to make or clean bottles.

93 – Breastfeeding promotes optimal child spacing because ovulation is delayed and conception is less likely during this time.

94 – Breastfeeding is an opportunity to bond with other new mothers who are also nursing their babies.

95 – Your baby will know you better if you breastfeed because he will smell the unique scent of your milk.

96 – Breast milk can be frozen and stored for up to 5 months.  Even after you’ve stopped breastfeeding, your baby or toddler can enjoy the benefits of breast milk straight up, with cereal or as a nutritional boost in foods you cook or bake.

97 – You can help another baby by donating your unneeded breast milk.  This extreme act of altruism gives other babies the same great start to life you offered your own baby.

98 – Breastfeeding is a natural part of bearing children and becoming a mother.  You’re joining a club of mothers that have been breastfeeding for millions of years.

99 – Breastfeeding just feels good – for you and for your baby!

100 – Breastfeeding is a badge of honor you can wear knowing that you gave your baby the very best nutrition and nourishment from the beginning of your lifelong relationship of love.

100 Benefits of Breastfeeding Part 4

breastfeeding 4__1458691297_162.206.228.38We’re back with our series on 100 benefits of breastfeeding. Yesterday we focused on benefits for babies.  Today we’re looking at 20 ways that mothers benefit from breastfeeding.  From lowered risk of disease and better sleep, to faster recovery after childbirth and increased emotional stability, breastfeeding is great for moms too.  Find out how right now…

61 – Breastfeeding reduces postpartum depression in new moms.  It releases pleasure chemicals called endorphins that help mothers stay happy and positive throughout the challenges of parenting an infant.

62 – Mothers who breastfeed are less likely to get breast cancer later in life.  This may be due to the reduced estrogen levels from not having menstrual cycles during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

63 – Moms who nurse for a total of one to two years cumulatively also have 1/3 less likelihood of getting ovarian cancer.

64 – Breastfeeding helps prevent endometrial cancer and slows the progress of endometriosis.

65 – Women who do not breastfeed are four times more likely to get osteoporosis than those who do.

66 – After childbirth, breastfeeding promotes contractions in the uterus to encourage a faster release of the extra blood that was stored during pregnancy to support the baby.

67 – However, breastfeeding helps reduce the risk of postpartum hemorrhage.  The hormone oxytocin released during breastfeeding closes off the blood vessels that once fed the baby.

68 – Due to uterine contractions and the healthy release of blood, a nursing mom’s uterus returns to its original size (or close to it) quicker.

69 – Because their babies are healthier, mothers who breastfeed tend to miss less days of work.

70 – Breastfed babies have to see the doctor less often, saving on healthcare costs and time and effort spent getting to doctors.

71 – Families of breastfed babies spend less money on feeding supplies and have more money to spend on other items that improve the development of their babies.

72 – Breastfeeding burns up to 600 calories a day and therefore helps moms return to their pre-baby weight faster.

73 – Breastfeeding creates beautiful curves that moms can be proud of.

74 – Nursing moms typically don’t get their menstrual cycles back for several months after childbirth.

75 – Although not entirely reliable, breastfeeding is a natural contraceptive.  However, since it is hard to detect when ovulation occurs (and it can happen even without having a period) it is not fail-proof.

76 – Having less periods reduces a mother’s risk of developing anemia.

77 – Mothers who breastfeed tend to get more sleep because they do not need to prepare bottles in the middle of the night.

78 – Nursing moms also get more sleep because their babies are less fussy due to gas from swallowing too much air from a bottle.

79 – Furthermore, breastfeeding takes a lot of energy and makes moms tired at night.  This helps moms get deeper more restorative sleep.

80 – Breastfeeding gives mothers a peaceful break to sit down to nourish and nurture their babies for awhile several times a day.

100 Benefits of Breastfeeding Part 3

breastfeeding 5__1458691485_162.206.228.38If you’ve ever doubted the healing and preventative power of breastfeeding and breast milk, all you have to do is read the thousands of studies that show breastfed babies are healthiest.  Statistically, babies who are breastfed for at least six months avoid many diseases, conditions and illnesses and have stronger immune systems to fight off sickness when it occurs.  Here are 20 such benefits of breastfeeding for babies:

41 – Breastfed babies are overall healthier babies, children and adults.

42 – Breast milk is a natural pain reliever.  Giving medication to babies, especially newborns, is not recommended.  But breast milk is Mother Nature’s form of medicine for babies.

43 – Breastfed babies have a stronger gastrointestinal system.  They are less likely to get diarrheal infections or develop chronic digestive disorders such as Crohn’s disease or colitis.

44 – Breastfeeding decreases risk of many childhood cancers including lymphomas and leukemia.

45 – Baby girls who are breastfed have a reduced risk of breast cancer when they get older.

46 – Breastfeeding reduces incidence of insulin resistance that causes juvenile diabetes (type 1 diabetes) and development of type 2 diabetes later in childhood or adulthood.

47 – Breastfed babies statistically have less allergies including food allergies, respiratory allergies and skin allergies.

48 – Breastfeeding promotes a healthy respiratory system.  Babies who are breastfed have less asthma and respiratory infections.

49 – Breastfeeding protects babies against bacterial meningitis.  Breast milk is a natural antibacterial that fights off the strain of bacteria that often causes inflammation of brain membranes known as meningitis.

50 – While the exact cause of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) is unknown, breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS considerably.

51 – Breastfeeding keeps ears healthier.  Babies who are not breastfed are three to four times more likely to get ear infections.

52 – Breast milk promotes strong, healthy bones.  Bone density is stored from birth until the mid-thirties.  Giving your baby a good start by accumulating calcium early may prevent osteoporosis later in life.

53 – Studies show that breastfeeding reduces childhood and adulthood obesity, which has become a serious epidemic in the U.S.

54 – Breastfeeding protects the eyes because it is a wonderful source of Vitamin A.  Breastfed babies have less vision disorders.

55 – Breastfed babies are less likely to get haemophilus b. bacteria (Hib), a type of influenza of the respiratory system that can settle into the throat, ears and blood.

56 – Vaccines are more effective in breastfed babies.

57 – Breastfed babies are less likely to develop the debilitating disease multiple sclerosis (MS) later in life.

58 – Breastfeeding is better for dental health because it contains natural bacteria that prevent tooth decay.

59 – Breastfeeding is healthy for teeth and jaw development because the act of sucking at the breast takes a lot of energy and strength.

60 – Breastfed babies tend to need less orthodontia as they age.

100 Benefits of Breastfeeding Part 2

breastfeeding 1__1458690990_162.206.228.38Today we’re bringing you the second part of our week-long series on the benefits of breastfeeding.  We are focusing on many of the wonderful ways breastfeeding and breast milk benefit newborns as they acclimate to sustaining themselves outside the womb, as well as the vast emotional benefits that breastfeeding offers mothers and babies.

21 – Breastfeeding promotes the bond between mother and child.  Holding your baby close and sharing this one-of-a-kind experience helps secure a lifelong relationship.

22 – Babies’ heart rates sync with their mothers during breastfeeding.  This can help steady the baby’s heart beat into a healthy rhythm.

23 – Babies’ temperature regulates during breastfeeding due to the proximity to mom and the fluctuating temperature of breast milk to meet the needs of your baby.

24 – Premature babies are more likely to survive when they are breastfed.

25 – Breastfeeding is emotionally satisfying to both mothers and babies.

26 – Breastfeeding gives babies ample skin-to-skin contact with mom, which is essential for their physical, mental and emotional development.

27 – Breastfeeding comforts babies and helps calm them during fussy times.

28 – Breastfeeding can help your baby recover from sickness faster.  Breast milk changes to meet the needs of your baby and can provide extra nutrients, antioxidants and antibodies during times of illness to boost your baby’s immune responses.

29 – Breastfeeding helps mothers get to know their babies better.  Spending quality time together allows moms to recognize different cries, learn their baby’s likes and dislikes and soak in the preciousness of their little baby.

30 – Breastfeeding is an ideal part of a healthy bedtime routine.

31 – Breast milk contains natural bio-chemicals and neurotransmitters that promote drowsiness and can encourage healthy sleep habits.

32 – Newborns’ vision is weak at birth but the distance between themselves and their mothers while breastfeeding is their optimal view.

33 – Babies get to know their mothers better because they can stare at them during feedings.  This connection is invaluable for an infant.

34 – Babies have an innate need to suck.  Breastfeeding allows babies to suck without swallowing extra air.

35 – Mothers and babies get to spend more time together when breastfeeding.

36 – Breast milk is odorless and helps your baby smell fresh.

37 – Breast milk soothes the digestive tract for less tummy aches, gas, constipation and diarrhea.

38 – Breastfed babies’ poop has less of a displeasing odor.

39 – Breast milk spit-up is relatively easy to clean and usually does not leave stains on your clothes or your baby’s clothes.

40 – Mothers who breastfeed have a unique sense of pride over their baby’s incredible growth and development based on the amazing nutrition they have offered through breastfeeding.

100 Benefits of Breastfeeding Part 1

breastfeeding 2__1458691025_162.206.228.38We often tout the incredible benefits of breastfeeding on our blog and on social media.  Individually they are certainly fantastic, but taking a look at all of the benefits of breastfeeding together makes you realize how undeniably, extraordinarily, miraculous breastfeeding and breast milk can be.  From the physical, emotional and cognitive benefits, to the preventative and economical benefits, babies, mothers, families and communities all reap the advantages of this amazing, natural act.

Saturday, April 9 marks the 100th day of 2016.  To celebrate 100 days of this glorious year, we’re sharing 100 benefits of breastfeeding throughout the week.  Each day we’ll have a new installment of the phenomenal benefits of breastfeeding.  We hope you enjoy this series.  Share your feedback with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

1 – Breast milk is the perfect nutrition for your baby. With hundreds of essential vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and fats, breast milk gives your baby the best start in life.

2 – Breast milk is a whole food and can completely sustain your baby’s nutritional needs in early infancy.

3 – Breast milk is easily digestible for your baby because it was made specifically for him.

4 – Breastfeeding is one of the most instinctual womanly acts on the planet.  It has been happening since the dawn of mammals.

5 – The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding for at least the first six months of your baby’s life and continuing for one year or more even after introducing solids.

6 – Breastfeeding is the best way to build your baby’s immature immune system.  It contains a variety of supercharged antibodies to protect your baby from pathogens that may enter his system.

7 – The earliest type of breast milk known as colostrum is ideal for newborns because it is highly concentrated with fat, protein and calories required during the first few days of life.

8 – Colostrum also helps newborns pass meconium, which is the dark sticky poop that travels through a baby’s intestines.

9 – Breast milk changes to meet the specific nutritional needs of your baby as he grows and develops.

10 – Breast milk tastes great!

11 – The flavor of your breast milk changes based on your diet so your baby shouldn’t get bored with the same old meal day-in and day-out.

12 – Breastfeeding is an early phase of palate training because you can expose your baby to a variety of flavors in your diet through your breast milk.  This encourages a more diverse and healthy diet as your child ages.

13 – Breast milk is readily available when you are with your baby.

14 – Breastfeeding is convenient as you don’t have the hassle of preparing bottles or bringing extra supplies when you’re on-the-go.

15 – Breast milk is always the perfect temperature.  Picky babies won’t need it warmed and you never have to worry about overheating it.

16 – Breastfeeding is cheaper because it is free.  You’ll save lots of money by breastfeeding.

17 – Breastfeeding is better for the world economy because it doesn’t require subsidies and reduces the overall cost of healthcare due to less sickness from mothers and babies.

18 – Breastfeeding sustains life across the globe.  It is encouraged by the World Health Organization and UNICEF as the healthiest nutritional choice for babies.

19 – Fresh breast milk is extremely pure.  You don’t have to worry about bacteria or contamination.  In fact, breast milk is an antimicrobial agent in and of itself.

20 – Breastfeeding is a gift you can give your baby that will last a lifetime.

Breastfeeding by the Numbers

breast milk by the numbers__1456607073_162.206.228.38We’re firm believers that “breast is best” when it is a feasible option for you and your baby.  Breastfeeding is a fascinating journey of bonding, love and nourishment.  While this is one of the most natural adventures you’ll embark upon in your life, there is a lot of data and stats involved in breastfeeding.  Today we’re exploring breastfeeding by the numbers.  That is, all the facts and figures involved in this labor of love.

  • Most infants nurse every 2 to 3 hours.  Your pediatrician may say your baby can go longer stretches at night depending on her individual state of health.
  • Most infants will nurse 7 to 12 times a day.
  • Exclusively breastfed babies take between 19 and 30 oz. of milk per day for the first 1 to 6 months.
  • Expectant mothers start the process of breast milk production as early as the 2nd trimester of pregnancy.
  • There are 3 stages of breast milk during the first month after your baby is born:  thick protein-rich colostrum is the first available milk for 1 to 7 days after birth; then new mothers produce transitional milk for 8 to 20 days; after around 20 days, your mature milk will sustain your baby.
  • Mature milk comes in 2 phases:  foremilk and hindmilk.  Foremilk is the watery milk that babies get at the beginning of a feeding that is more plentiful.  Hindmilk is the milk expressed later in the feeding that contains more fat.
  • Breast milk contains approximately 11 grams of fat, 170 calories, 2.5 grams of protein and 17 grams of carbohydrates per cup.
  • A let-down usually occurs within the first 2 minutes of breastfeeding.  This is when the breast tightens or tingles and then milk begins to flow more freely.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding for at least 6 months and continuing to breastfeed for a year or more.
  • In the U.S., while over 75% of babies are breastfed at birth, only around 16% of babies are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months of life.
  • Breastfeeding burns up to 600 calories a day.
  • Breast milk can be unrefrigerated for up to 5 hours, refrigerated for 3 to 8 days and frozen for up to 6 months before it will spoil.  If it is easier, just remember the number 5 – 5 hours unrefrigerated, 5 days in the refrigerator and 5 months in the freezer.

There you have it, the basic stats about breastfeeding and breast milk.  But the most important take-away is that breastfeeding is number 1 when it comes to the health of your baby!