20 things you didn’t know about Breastfeeding…

Posted on November 29th, 2019 by



The benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby have long been established. But here are some other less well known amazing things that I’ve recently learned about breastfeeding…


  1. During pregnancy the reason that your nipples get bigger and darker is so that the newborn, whose eyesight isn’t great, can find the boobs. Babies are born extremely near-sighted, which means they can only see things about 8 to 15 inches away, which equates nicely to the distance from a mother’s face to breast. Also, when the newborn learns to move their arms and hands and grasp, they instinctively pummel at the breast whilst feeding which further encourages milk let down.


  1. A newborn can recognise the smell of their own mothers milk versus another woman’s milk. Letting a baby smell the areola of the breasts will aid “latching on” and successful breastfeeding. In fact, they prefer feeding from unwashed breasts near unwashed armpits rather than freshly showered!


  1. The milk starts off as foremilk which is more watery in consistency and develops into hindmilk which is fattier, over the duration of a feed, so your baby quenches their thirst with a drink before tucking into a hearty meal!


  1. Breastmilk supply is dictated by the frequency of baby latching on to feed as opposed to duration so to keep supply up, baby has to persistently be at the breast.


  1. Breast milk contains a unique profile of nutrients, which change composition to adapt with the babies requirements as she gets older.


  1. The composition of breastmilk also changes at night time. At night there is increased prolactin so that the mother feels more rested so that it is easier for her to wake for night feeds and night milk also contains tryptophan, an amino acid used by the body to make melatonin which is a hormone that helps induce and regulate sleep and so ensures the baby sleeps deeper.


  1. Breast milk also contains live organisms, such as antibodies and enzymes which build the babies immune system, provides protection against infection, helps their digestion, populates their microbiome and increases the absorption of nutrients.


  1. If baby is ‘coming down’ with an illness, when mum kisses baby’s face she picks up microbes and germs from the baby and the breast milk will adapt to build antibodies to fight whatever it is that baby is coming down with.


  1. When mum goes to a mums and baby group, surrounded by other mums and babies, milk will quickly adapt and build antibodies that fight any infections, illnesses and germs present within the mums and baby group.


  1. Cabbage leaves in the bra alleviates inflammation and pain caused by blocked milk ducts during mastitis.


  1. Babies breastfeed not just out of hunger, they do it for comfort if anxious or distressed, it creates feelings of relaxation, it helps them sleep and to feel bonded and connected with their mum.


  1. Breastfeeding also has an analgesic affect, it offers pain relief.


  1. Mum’s milk starts to let down when/if baby is due a feed, baby is about to wake from a nap, baby (any baby nearby) is distressed or crying.


  1. Eye contact between mother and baby when breastfeeding increases the let down of milk.


  1. Things that reduce milk supply: not feeding often, whether due to being far from baby or combined feeding with bottle or use of a dummy, stress, lack of sleep, dehydration, not eating enough, too much exercise, short feeds not emptying the breast.


  1. Things that increase milk supply: being physically near baby, suckling frequently, emptying the breast completely at each feed, drinking lots of water, fennel, oats, flaxseeds, eating well and often, being relaxed and getting sleep.


  1. You can leave breast milk out of the fridge for up to 6 hours, in the fridge up to 5 days and in the freezer up to 12 months.


  1. Breastfeeding has a strong hormonal effect on a women. Increased oxytocin helps her feel loved up, content and bonded, and the increase in prolactin reduces her fertility. The decrease in oestrogen can bring her libido down. So in terms of connection with her partner, cuddles rather than sex may be preferred!


  1. The actual mechanics of breastfeeding uses a symphony of muscles, cranial nerves, and the jaw bones. They all work together to help form the baby’s oral cavity and facial muscles. It positively impacts the formation and development of the tongue, teeth and jaw in fact, babies have to work hard to breastfeed, which is sometimes witnessed in the form of “muscle fatigue” when a newborn’s jaw starts quivering while breastfeeding.


  1. In terms of benefits for the mother, breastfeeding tends to facilitate quicker weight-loss for the mother, it also helps prevent against anaemia, high blood pressure and postnatal depression and studies have shown that it reduces the risk of breast cancer and osteoporosis.


 The Real Flow Yoga Postnatal Teacher Training  covers this topic plus many more.

It is designed for yoga teachers and anyone working within the field of women’s wellbeing looking to develop their expertise and specialism.

This 40-hour teacher training course  is accredited by Yoga Alliance Professionals and runs over 2 weekends and equips you with an in-depth and holistic understanding of postpartum wellbeing.

You’ll gain the knowledge, qualification and ability to get insurance to teach safe and effective postnatal yoga and mums and baby yoga classes.

Next course costs £450 and runs weekends of 25th & 26th Jan 2020 and Feb 15th & 16th 2020 in Hove, East Sussex