It’s hard to drill down to only five weird breastfeeding facts because lactation is totally, utterly fascinating. So much so that I happily spend every moment I can learning about how and why we make milk.
May I present to you the first five of many, many strange breastfeeding facts that you can use to impress your neighbors and freak out your family members!
Weird breastfeeding fact 1
At least 70% of the time, the right breast produces more milk than the left breast. And it’s not related to which hand the nursing parent writes with or which hand the baby eventually writes with. It also isn’t related to which breast they typically offer first when baby nurses. In fact, nobody has been able to figure out why this happens!
Righty was an overproducer for Grace Adler, too.
Weird breastfeeding fact 2
Your nipples have more than one “hole” in them, and milk squirts out of anywhere from 5-15 or so different “holes” on each nipple. Think less like a bottle nipple and more like a sprinkler head on a garden hose. Or a shower head for that matter.
A fairly realistic portrayal of let-down
Weird breastfeeding fact 3
Breastfed babies eat the same amount of milk per day from the time they’re 4-6 weeks old to the time they’re 6+ months old and begin eating solid foods. Breastmilk composition changes from feeding to feeding to meet the needs of the baby! This is why babies who eat formula need to take larger bottles as they grow- the baby needs larger bottles to meet their needs as they get older, but a breastfed baby always will need right around 25 ounces of breastmilk a day.
Joey Tribbiani can drink a gallon of milk in 10 seconds! Breastfed babies can’t. Thank goodness.
Weird breastfeeding fact 4
Babies don’t really suck the milk out of the breast. When babies nurse properly they lift their tongues to create a vacuum as they massage the milk out of the breast and into the mouth. The muscles in their tongues roll from front to back to help move the milk out of the milk ducts. You can feel this if you put a (clean!) finger into a breastfed baby’s mouth and feel their tongue movement as they “suck”. Drinking from a bottle mostly requires suction and a chomping motion, which is why babies can have a hard time switching from bottlefeeding to nursing and back.
What Maggie’s doing is pretty much the opposite of how a breastfed baby eats.
Weird breastfeeding fact 5
Those little bumps on your areolae- montgomery glands- secrete an oil that smells like amniotic fluid. They get bigger during pregnancy and that scent actually helps newborns to find the nipple after they are born, as they’re attracted to the familiar scent! Montgomery glands tend to be located on the same part of the areolae where a baby’s nose sits while they nurse.
Montgomery glands, the scratch-n-sniff stickers of breasts. Is it too obvious that I grew up in the 80s?
What are your favorite weird breastfeeding facts? I know you’ve got them!
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