Breastfeeding Education

About Breasts and Breastfeeding

About breast milk

Your breast milk changes to meet the needs of your growing baby. The first thick yellow milk, called colostrums, nourishes your newborn and gives your baby antibodies to fight infection.

After a few days, your milk starts to change. It becomes mature milk by about 2 weeks. Your mature milk changes throughout the feed. The foremilk comes first. It is thin, low in fat, and high in vitamins. It satisfies your baby’s thirst. When your child continues to suckle, the hind milk is released. It is a high-calorie fatty white milk which satisfies your baby’s hunger. Besides responding to your baby’s needs throughout a feeding, your milk responds to your environment. Your body produces antibodies to fight infections that you are exposed to. You share these with your baby through your breast milk.

How your breasts make milk

Your breasts start to make the first milk late in your pregnancy. When you breastfeed your baby, the suckling causes more milk to be made. Size does not matter. Large or small, the mechanics are the same. Your breasts will continue to make milk for as long as your child breastfeeds. Your breast produces milk in response to suckling. The more your baby suckles at your breast, the more milk you will produce. It is the law of supply and demand. Most women can make enough milk to satisfy twins, so don’t worry about not having enough. Just breastfeed often. And remember to drink to satisfy your thirst. If you ever have to interrupt breastfeeding for a time, you can re-start milk flow by allowing your child to suckle at the breast. You might also hand express or use a breast pump.

Benefits for Mom

  • Your uterus shrinks to its pre-pregnancy size more quickly.
  • You use up fat stored during pregnancy.
  • Breastfeeding releases a feel-good hormone that will make it easier for you to cope with the demands of a new baby.
  • You are less likely to get osteoporosis, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer.
  • Straight from the breast, your milk is always clean, ready, and at the perfect temperature.
  • You learn your baby's cues more quickly and can respond to baby's need for food and comfort before baby becomes overly upset.
  • You have the satisfaction of knowing you are giving your baby the very best.

Benefits for Baby

  • Human milk is the perfect food for human babies.
  • Your baby has a lower risk of ear infections, respiratory illness, allergies, diarrhea, and vomiting.
  • Your baby will rarely be constipated, because breast milk is easy to digest.
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is less common in breastfed babies.
  • Breast milk has many flavors, depending on what you eat. This prepares your baby for later food.
  • A type of fat in breast milk, which is not in formula, helps your baby's brain develop well.
  • Breastfeeding helps your baby to bond with you.
  • Your child has a lower risk for respiratory infections, type 1 and 2 diabetes and childhood leukemia. The health benefits continue into adulthood, with lower risk of high cholesterol, asthma, and breast cancer.
  • Babies are less likely to come into contact with dangerous germs because breast milk is always clean.
  • Babies can be fed right away when they’re hungry, because breast milk is always ready.
  • Babies are less likely to be burned, because breast milk is always the right temperature.

Benefits for Community

  • Breastfeeding reduces healthcare costs. Breastfed babies are sick less. They need fewer visits to health care providers and hospitals.
  • Breastfeeding is environmentally friendly, producing less waste and using fewer resources than any other method of infant feeding.
  • Breastfeeding saves money. You don’t need to buy formula, bottles and equipment. Breast milk requires no preparation so there is no need to use electricity or hot water.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the number of sick days that families must use to care for their sick children.