profile picture of Elena Donovan Mauer
Elena Donovan Mauer

11 Things You Didn’t Know About Breastfeeding

Did you two thirds of moms produce more milk from their right breast? That’s just one of the (surprising!) facts we discovered.

1. Who needs the gym? It takes energy to maintain a milk supply! Consistent breastfeeding burns about 500 calories per day.

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, ingesting a thick liquid called colostrum that your body starts producing before milk.

3. You’re probably a righty. Almost two-thirds of moms produce more milk with their right breast (and it has nothing to do with being right-handed).

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

5. Know your nipple. Breast milk sprays out of many holes, not just one. The exact number of pores varies from mom to mom, but is somewhere between 10 and 20.

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

7. Implants don’t impact. Most women with breast implants are still able to breastfeed.

8. A “breastfeeding high.” Nursing baby triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin, which relaxes you and baby both.

9. 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.

10. You are what you eat. Babies are more likely to try and enjoy new flavors if mom's been eating them while nursing.

11. The law is on your side. 49 states (plus Washington, DC, and the US Virgin Islands) have breastfeeding in public laws that specifically grant women the right to breastfeed in any public or private location.

Sources: Cleveland Clinic; Stanford University; Rush College of Nursing; Office on Women's Health, US Department of Health and Human Services; Gland Surgery; La Lache League International; Nutrition During Lactation; Nutrients

Plus, more from The Bump:

How Breastfeeding Changes as Baby Gets Older

Breastfeeding Problems Solved

Worst Breastfeeding Advice Ever

Published July 2017