A mother is breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is mighty powerful. Learn the facts. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

Most people have heard that breastfeeding is good for mama and baby. But did you know these unique facts?

1. Your baby can smell you and your milk?

Indeed they can. Breastfeeding babies have an amazing sense of smell after birth, and can tell who their mother is by her smell.

2. Breastfeeding helps to prevent obesity in children and adults.

A study done by LaLeche League showed that the longer a baby is breastfed the less chance they have of adult obesity. At 5-6 years of age, children who were never breastfed had obesity rates of 4.5 percent compared to obesity rates of 0.8 percent for children who were breastfed for more than 12 months.

3. Moms sleep better.

Mamas who breastfeed actually sleep 45 minutes more a night on average, compared to those who formula feed. Since sleep deprivation is normal after a newborn, this is another plus for breastfeeding.

4.  It is rare for a woman to not produce enough milk.

In fact, research says babies consume about 67 percent of the milk in the breast each time. So there’s plenty of milk.

5. Your breasts change temperature.

This is one of the reasons we have newborns practice skin-to-skin contact with parents. Your breasts will actually heat up or cool down depending on baby’s temperature needs.

6. One breast produces more than another?

The right breast tends to produce more milk though it doesn’t make a difference if you are right or left handed.

7. The SIDS rate is lower in babies who are breastfed.

La Leche League states that the four biggest issues associated with SIDS are smoking, laying a baby facedown for sleep, leaving a baby unattended and formula feeding.

8. Your body makes the perfect recipe of milk for your baby.

Did you know if you have a preemie, as I did, your body adjusts and makes more fat in the milk? Your body also adjusts the content of fat as the baby grows. Does formula do this? No.

9. Hopefully future generations will continue to breastfeed longer.

Moms of the 60s rarely breastfed. In 2011, 76 percent of babies were started with breast milk, however, by six months only 14.8 percent still breastfed.

10. Benefits beyond the breast are plenty for mama.

Breastfeeding helps decrease the chance of cancer (both breast and ovarian), heart disease and osteoporosis in the woman who breastfeeds.

11. Benefits for baby are extensive, too.

Breastfeeding benefits baby by reducing their chances of later developing conditions such as Type 1 and 2 diabetes, Hodgkin’s disease, leukemia, Crohn’s disease and asthma.

12. It has a calming influence.

Breastfeeding releases a relaxing hormone for both mother and baby that calms them both.

13. Breastfeeding discrimination is prohibited.

We have a law to help protect breastfeeding moms and babies called the Breastfeeding Antidiscrimation Act, No. 197 of 2014. This law protects women who nurse in public.