Breastfeeding Facts

Good to know

Knowledge is just the Beginning - Despite our long history in research, we strive to understand breastfeeding even better. And we are glad to share our research findings with you, plus the experience we gained in 50 years of existence - through countless dialogues with families from all over the world. more

Infant Sucking

See how the baby feeds at the breast more

Pumping

Medela is the leading manufacturer of breastpumps and has developed technologies such as the unique 2-Phase Expression technology. more

Pumping

Working & breastfeeding

Dealing with both your baby and a job can be a real balancing act for a mother. A working mother has to be really good at organizing: it requires a lot of love, time and energy. It's helpful to know that you aren't the only one. Read about how other mothers have mastered the situation. more

Breastfeeding aids in the uterus returning to original size after birth

  • Breastfeeding causes the release of a hormone called Oxytocin
  • Oxytocin is also responsible for the contraction of the uterus and therefore helps to decrease the size of the uterus after birth.

An average breastfeed lasts 16 minutes

  • this is the average time for you to sit at intervals during the day and night for that special time with your baby
  • a time for relaxation, contemplation and pure enjoyment - just you and your baby.

You only produce a small amount of milk in the first few days

  • This milk is called colosturm
  • It is only produced in small amounts because that is all your baby needs. He only has a very small tummy and only needs a small amount to fill it
  • This milk is rich in special goodies to help your baby's immune system and provides an excellent start in life
  • After around day 3 or 4 you gradually produce more milk and the production adapts to your baby's demands

Breastfeeding burns calories

  • when breastfeeding you burn up to an extra 500 calories per day
  • while you sit and relax with your baby you are also burning calories. So the ideal way to lose weight with out the exercise!

Almost three-quarters of mums produce more milk with their right breast

  • no correlation to being right or left handed, just a fact!

Babies instinctively know how to get your milk quickly and efficiently

  • they start breastfeeding with a faster suck for stimulation until you let-down. Then when your milk is flowing, they switch to a slower, deeper suck and eat until they’re full.

Breastfeeding reduces the exposure to sugar

  • the only sugar a baby should have or even needs, is lactose. This is the harmless sugar found in breastmilk. sucrose is the alternative and can cause damage to erupting teeth

About a third of moms can’t sense 'let-down'

  • 'let down' is when your milk starts to flow
  • it can also be called milk ejection
  • the average time it takes for let down to happen is 56 seconds
  • watch for your milk to flow and see it happen.

Your baby controls your breastmilk flow with an instinctive action that includes sucking, swallowing and breathing

  • milk flows only when your baby moves his tongue a certain way whilst holding onto the breast
  • he is able to pace himself and only sucks and swallows when he wants
  • your baby can also pause and breathe regularly without letting go of the breast!

Babies breastfeed until they’re full not until they 'empty' your breast.

  • on average, babies remove 67% of the milk you have available – this amount can vary widely among moms.
  • with bottle feeding, a baby will generally feed until the bottle is empty

Breast size is not important!

  • no matter what size you are, you’ll make enough milk for your baby - A cups rejoice!

Your milk sprays out of many holes, not just one

  • the average amount of openings in the nipple is 9, with some even up to 18

73% of mothers get outside help for breastfeeding problems

  • it is so important to ask for advice or help if you need it and as you can see, this is a common practice
  • there is and entire profession dedicated to successful breastfeeding
  • Lactation Consultants (LC's) are passionate about helping you and your baby breastfeed
  • follow the link for details of how to find an LC near you: www.iblce.org

For the normally flat-chested, a temporary boost!

  • an excellent reason to keep going for at least 6 months as recommended by the WHO (World Health Organisation)

82% of mothers use a breastpump

  • whether it is because of going back to work or to help overcome a temporary separation or problem, a breastpump is a valuable tool
  • discuss with your health professional and check out the rest of our website for further information

Breastfeeding exposes your baby to many different tastes and smells

  • early exposure to different flavours can influence a child's acceptance of food when weaning (1,2,3)

Breastfeeding can help prevent cancer and reduces risk of osteoporosis (5,6)

  • in countries were breastfeeding rates are higher, the commonest female cancers, ovarian, uterine and breast, are reduced
  • breastfeeding also helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life

Breastfeeding contributes to a better environment

  • breastfeeding is energy efficient - no need to boil water/wash/sterilise
  • less wastage with breastfeeding

References:

  1. C. A. Forestell and J. A. Mennella Early Determinants of Fruit and Vegetable Acceptance Pediatrics, December 1, 2007; 1206: 1247 - 1254.
  2. J. A. Mennella, C. E. Griffin, and G. K. Beauchamp Flavor Programming During Infancy Pediatrics, April 1, 2004; 1134: 840 - 845.
  3. J. A Mennella, C. A Forestell, L. K Morgan, and G. K Beauchamp Early milk feeding influences taste acceptance and liking during infancy Am. J. Clinical Nutrition, September 1, 2009; 903: 780S - 788S.
  4. A. M. Stuebe, W. C. Willett, F. Xue, and K. B. Michels Lactation and Incidence of Premenopausal Breast Cancer: A Longitudinal Study Arch Intern Med, August 10, 2009; 16915: 1364 - 1371.
  5. N. Andrieu, D. E. Goldgar, D. F. Easton, M. Rookus, R. Brohet, A. C. Antoniou, S. Peock, G. Evans, D. Eccles, F. Douglas, et al. Pregnancies, breast-feeding, and breast cancer risk in the International BRCA1/2 Carrier Cohort Study (IBCCS). J Natl Cancer Inst, April 19, 2006; 988: 535 - 544.