This week is World Breastfeeding Week- a worldwide event designed to raise awareness and promote knowledge about breastfeeding globally. Today I wanted to share a few amazing facts that I have learned along the way:
Did you know?
1. Your breasts will rise or lower in temperature a degree or two to help warm or cool your infant if you have him or her skin-to-skin on your chest (this is part of the reason why your doula will tell you over and over: get that baby skin-to-skin!). While the rest of your body will maintain its current body temperature, your breasts will act as individual little thermostats for your new baby if you are skin-to-skin. What is even more amazing is this: if you have multiples, your individual breasts will adjust to each individual baby! So if one baby is feeling a little cool and the other a little warm, put them both to your chest skin-to-skin (at the same time!) and your breasts will adjust their individual temperatures for your sweet little babes!
2. Montgomery glands: These amazing glands on your breasts will make a secretion that smells exactly like amniotic fluid. Why is this important? Because your newborn baby has been living in and swallowing amniotic fluid for 9 months. That familiar smell guides them to the breast to initiate breastfeeding, and helps them build the connection from womb to world. It's not just a comforting smell, it's a map to guide the newborn into this new world and a new life!
3. Contrary to what scientists believed for a long time, breast milk is not sterile- and that's a great thing! It has its own microbiome, and it is believed to play a big role in protecting your newborn from illness in the first months of life. It also helps to lay the foundation of your infant's immune system for life, so It's not just beneficial now: breastfeeding benefits will extend throughout your child's life and long after your breastfeeding relationship has ended in the form of a strong immune system
Add to my list: what amazes YOU most about breasts and breastfeeding? I would love to hear what you have learned along the way!