11 Things You Didn’t Know About Breastfeeding

Think you know everything about breastfeeding? Not until you read these (surprising!) facts.

By Elena Donovan Mauer for TheBump.com

Thinkstock / The BumpThinkstock / The Bump

1. Who needs the gym?
The metabolic energy needed to breastfeed a baby each day is the amount you'd use to walk seven miles.

2. It's not always easy to learn, but it is instinctual. Newborns held skin-to-skin in the first hour or two after birth may push their way toward mom's breast and start feeding on their own.

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3. Liquid gold. Human milk is sold on the Internet for $4 per ounce. That's about 262 times the price of oil.

4. You're probably a righty. Almost three-quarters of moms produce more milk with their right breast (and it has nothing to do with being right-handed).

5. Distinctive scent. Breastfed babies can practically pick their moms out of a lineup based on smell alone.

6. Know your nipple. Breast milk sprays out of many holes, not just one. The exact number varies from mom to mom.

7. Bigger isn't necessarily better. The amount of breast milk a mom produces has nothing to do with her breast size.

8. Implants don't impact. Most women with breast implants are still able to breastfeed.

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9. A "breastfeeding high." Nursing baby triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin, which relaxes you and baby both.

10. The '60s sucked for nursing. US breastfeeding rates were lowest in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when only 20 to 25 percent of mothers breastfed.

11. Hang in there! In 2011, 74.6 percent of US babies were breastfed (ever), but by six months, only 14.8 percent were exclusively breastfed.

Sources: Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History; Ameda.com; University of Rhode Island; Breastfeeding.com; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Medela.com; PumpStation.com; U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health

© 2012 The Bump. All rights reserved.

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