63 (Weird Yet True) Breastfeeding Facts You Never Knew Exist

Want to know about some breastfeeding facts?

Well, you’re in the right place.

In this post, I’ll share with you 63 breastfeeding facts and statistic you never thought existed.

Let’s get started.

63 Breastfeeding Facts and Statistics That Will Blow Your Mind

Breastfeeding Fact #1:

In the United States (US), about 84.1% of infants are breastfed ever.

Breastfeeding Fact #2

Only 40% of infants globally, who are under six months of age receive exclusive breastfeeding.

Source: World Health Organization (WHO)

Breastfeeding Fact #3

Infants who are breastfed show improved brain development, once they attain 2 years.

Breastfeeding Fact #4

Infants who receive exclusive breastfeeding for at least 3 months had enhanced development in key parts of their brain associated with emotional function, language, and cognition, compared to children who were fed formula exclusively or fed with a combination of formula and breastmilk.

Source: Brown University

Breastfeeding Fact #5

Preterm infants who received breast milk, predominantly especially in the first 28 days of life tend to have better IQ, academic achievement, working memory, and motor function at 7 years of age.

Source: The Journal of Pediatrics

Breastfeeding Fact #6

In Australia, the lawmakers are allowed to breastfeed and bottle-feed in parliament.

mother breastfeeding in parliament

Source: BBC

Breastfeeding Fact #7

The human breast milk has about 200 different sugar molecules, that serves a wide range of benefits, for both the baby and mother. This can’t be compared with milk produced by other mammals. For instance, cow milk has only around 50 sugar molecules.

Source: STAT News

Breastfeeding Fact #8

Depending on the specific individual needs of a baby, the nutritional and immunological components of breast milk change every day.

Source: The Stranger

Breastfeeding Fact #9

There would be a savings of $13 billion per year in the United States, if 90% of mothers in the US would comply with the recommendation to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months.

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

Breastfeeding Fact #10

The country with the highest breastfeeding rate in the world is Sweden, at 98%.

highest breastfeeding rate in the world
Source: UNICEF

Breastfeeding Fact #11

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer.

Source: World Health Organization (WHO)

Breastfeeding Fact #12

It became legal to breastfeed publicly in all 50 states of the United States in 2018.

Source: USA Today

Breastfeeding Fact #13

When breastfeeding, your body generally burns between 200 to 500 extra calories a day.

Source: Very Well Family

Breastfeeding Fact #14

Breast milk contains epithelial cells, immune cells, and stem cells. This go on to become other body cell types like brain, heart, kidney, or bone tissue.

Source: US National Library of Medicine

Breastfeeding Fact #15

Breast milk is typically white but not always so. The color of the breast milk could be blue, green, yellow, pink, or orange depending on what you eat or drink.

Source: Healthline

Editor’s note: Read our comprehensive reviews of the Best Chairs For Breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Fact #16

Breastfeeding reduces the risks of breast and ovarian cancer, type II diabetes, and postpartum depression.

Source: World Health Organization (WHO)

Breastfeeding Fact #17

In previous centuries, before bottles and formula were invented, wet nursing was the safest and most common alternative to the natural mother’s breastmilk.

Source: National Institute of Health

Breastfeeding Fact #18

Breastfeeding creates denser tissue in your breasts. After breastfeeding, the fatty tissue and connective tissue in your breasts may shift. And in some cases, it might make one breast seem as if it’s bigger than the other.

Source: WebMD

Breastfeeding Fact #19

Prior to the industrial revolution, breastfeeding was a common practice among mothers in Europe and other parts of the world.

However, when the industrial revolution set in, there was a sharp and major decline in the practice of breastfeeding in urban Europe, which resulted in high infant mortality especially during the 18th and 19th century.

Source: National Library of Medicine

Breastfeeding Fact #20

Wet nurses were popular and very fashionable among rich mothers in the 18th and 19th century.

Source: National Library of Medicine

Breastfeeding Fact #21

In 2005, the Scottish Parliament passed a bill which made it an offense for anyone to prevent a woman from breastfeeding in public. This bill gave women the freedom to breastfeed in public.

Source: Scottish Parliament

Breastfeeding Fact #22

In Islam, it is recommended that infants should be breastfed for two years, either by the mother or a wet nurse. This should be an agreement between both parents as stated in the Qur’an.

In the pre-Islamic Arabian peninsula, children were breastfed, commonly by wet nurses.

Source: Surat al-Baqarah 2:233

Breastfeeding Fact #23

Breast milk and breastfeeding was very significant in early modern England and the North American colonies. During that period, breast milk was regarded as a potent bodily fluid which was essential to the survival of young infants, useful in feeding adults weakened by disease, and valuable as a medicinal ingredient for treating a variety of human ailments.

Source: Journal of Social History

Breastfeeding Fact #24

There is a 59% reduction in incidence of premenopausal breast cancer, for women who have ever breastfed and have a first-degree relative with breast cancer.

Source: US National Institute of Health

Breastfeeding Fact #25

Among the benefits associated with breastfeeding, is that it reduces the risk of developing endometrial cancer.

Source: Obstetrics & Gynecology

Breastfeeding Fact #26

The scent of breast milk appears to have a calming, painkilling effect on newborns. In fact, babies can easily identify their mother’s breast milk by scent.

Source: Parenting Science

Breastfeeding Fact #27

One of the world’s oldest women’s profession is wet nursing (Being hired to breastfeed another woman’s child)

Source: Huffington Post

Breastfeeding Fact #28

The first commercial infant formula is known as Liebig’s Soluble Food for Babies, and was invented in 1867.

Source: Slate

Breastfeeding Fact #29

If every mom in the world were to breastfeed as they should, this could save 820,000 children’s lives around the world annually, hence preventing 13% of all deaths of children under five years of age.

Source: CNN Health

Breastfeeding Fact #30

In Senegal, 99% of women breastfeed their babies. However, only 42% do so without adding water, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Source: Alive and Thrive

Breastfeeding Fact #31

The United Kingdom (UK) has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world. Eight out of ten women in the UK stop breastfeeding before they want to.

Editor’s Note: Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Nursing Pillows for Breastfeeding.

breastfeeding rate in UK
Source: UNICEF

Breastfeeding Fact #32

The brain releases two hormones during breastfeeding; which are Prolactin and Oxytocin. These hormones help the mother form an emotional bond with her baby.

Source: News Medical Life Sciences

Breastfeeding Fact #33

Breast size doesn’t matter as far as producing breast milk is concerned. In fact, a mother with small breasts can make just as much milk as the mother with a large breast.

Source: Motherlove

Breastfeeding Fact #34

The human breast milk is not sterile. Breast milk contains a healthy dose of commensal bacteria; all the staphylococci, streptococci, and lactic acid bacteria that are found in the infant gut.

Source: Scientific American

Breastfeeding Fact #35

Contrary to what human mothers do by holding their baby close during breastfeeding , several animals like rats assists newborns by assuming a special squatting posture that allows the pups to find the nipple.

Rhesus monkeys move to their mother’s nipple without the mother assisting them.

Source: News Medical Life Sciences

Breastfeeding Fact #36

There is a difference between the genders in the contents of their mother’s milk. Boy babies receive higher levels of lipids (fats) and calcium than girl babies.

Source: Journal of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

Breastfeeding Fact #37

Breastfeeding is prevalent in low-income countries compared to high-income countries. In the latter, 21% of babies, or more than 1 in 5, never receive breastmilk, while in the former, just 4%, or 1 in 25 babies, are never breastfed.

high income vs low income countries breastfeeding rates
Source: UNICEF

Breastfeeding Fact #38

Between 11th January 2011 to 25th March 2014, Alyse Ogletree (USA) in Argyle, Texas, donated 1569.79 litres (55,249 UK fl oz; 53,081 US fl oz) of breast milk to Mother’s Milk Bank of North Texas. Hence, earning the Guinness World Records of the most breastmilk donated.

Source: Guinness World Records

Breastfeeding Fact #39

Breast milk can help babies prevent and fight infections. This is because it contains antibodies, that are are present in high amounts in colostrum (the first milk that comes out of the breasts after birth).

Source: Healthy Children

Breastfeeding Fact #40

During a breastfeeding session, breast milk changes. In the beginning of the nursing session, the baby gets Foremilk (which is lower in fat and higher in lactose)

As the feeding progresses, the milk transitions to Hindmilk (which is higher in fat).

Source: Breast Milk Counts

Breastfeeding Fact #41

Breastfeeding causes a 64% reduction in the incidence of nonspecific gastrointestinal tract infections. This reduction lasts for 2 months after cessation of breastfeeding.

Source: National Centre for Biotechnology Information

Breastfeeding Fact #42

Mothers who are well-nourished during breastfeeding have an increased energy need of 450 to 500 kcal daily that can be met by a modest increase in a normally balanced varied diet.

Source: UpToDate

Breastfeeding Fact #43

It’s not recommended for mothers to breastfeed when they are receiving medication from drugs such as amphetamines, chemotherapy agents, ergotamines, and statins.

Source: Pediatrics

Breastfeeding Fact #44

The use of pacifiers when breastfeeding in the neonatal period should be limited to specific medical situations only. This is because using pacifiers has been associated with a reduction in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) incidence.

Source: JAMA Pediatrics

Breastfeeding Fact #45

As the baby grows and develops, the process of breastfeeding change. The nutrients in the mother’s breastmilk adapt to the growing baby’s needs, likewise, the amount of milk you produce does too.

Source: Premier Health

Breastfeeding Fact #46

In Classic Greece, the breast milk of a Greek goddess was thought to confer immortality to those who drank it.

Source: Health Foundations

Editor’s Note: You can read our in-depth reviews of the Best Pumping Bra for Spectra.

Breastfeeding Fact #47

In 1793, France declared that women who didn’t breastfeed would be ineligible for welfare.

Source: Unknown

Breastfeeding Fact #48

Wet nursing was a visible occupation in the United States (US) until the 1920s.

Source: TIME

Breastfeeding Fact #49

 In 1794, Germany made it a legal requirement that all healthy women must breastfeed their babies.

Source: Unknown

Breastfeeding Fact #50

Breast milk is often called “liquid gold” due to the incredible and amazing benefits that it provides for babies as soon as they’re born into the world.

Why breast milk is called Liquid Gold

Breastfeeding Fact #51

There’s a component in breast milk found by researchers which is called HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor Cells) that causes tumor cells to die.

Source: The International Childbirth Education Association

Breastfeeding Fact #52

Most women in the United States, who nurse stop before their baby is six months old – and many never start at all.

Source: Kelly Mom

Breastfeeding Fact #53

Breasts produce milk using the demand-and-supply rule. So, if you or your baby prefer, say the right breast over the left one, the right breast will produce more milk than the other.

Source: Firstcry Parenting

Breastfeeding Fact #54

There are approximately 15 to 25 milk ducts in each breast that make milk, hence there are several pores in each breast where milk comes out of, and not just the single hole in your nipple.

Source: Foxnews

Breastfeeding Fact #55

Babies can only see about 15–18 inches away. Which is equivalent to the distance between a mother’s face and her baby’s when breastfeeding.

Source: Babycentre

Breastfeeding Fact #56

During the newborn period, most breastfeeding sessions take between 20 to 45 minutes.

Source: Sutter Health

Breastfeeding Fact #57

Elisabeth Anderson Sierra also known as the milk goddess is an Oregon-based mother.

She has Hyperlactation syndrome which makes her produce around 225oz, or 1.75 gallons, of Breast milk a day which is almost eight to ten times the average mother.

The milk goddess.

Breastfeeding Fact #58

The ancient pharaoh of Egypt, King Tutankhamun built a lavish tomb for his wet nurse Maya.

Source: DW.com

Breastfeeding Fact #59

In the Islamic law, two children who have suckled milk from the same woman are viewed as a lifelong form of kinship equal to that of a blood relative.

Source: Britannica

Breastfeeding Fact #60

Philosophers such as Pliny and Plutarch believed that a child could imbibe the physical and mental qualities of the wet nurse via her milk.

Source: Huffington Post

Breastfeeding Fact #61

Children who nurse for more than six months are less likely to develop childhood leukemia and lymphoma than those who receive formula.

Source: Healthy Children

Breastfeeding Fact #62

Through breastmilk, the baby gets a slight taste of whatever you eat, although not directly. This makes the introduction of solid foods easier when your baby is 6 months old.

Source: Unknown

Breastfeeding Fact #63

When breastfeeding, you release some hormones, which makes your uterus shrink back to its pre-pregnancy size.

Source: Unknown

Over to You

Which of these breastfeeding facts seem weird to you? Kindly let me know in the comments section below.

And if you have any other breastfeeding facts that I didn’t mention in the post, please let me know, so I can update the post with it as well.