Incredible Discovery Shows Breastfeeding Can Keep Moms Healthy

There are some precious moments that only a mother and baby can experience together.

Breastfeeding is one of those intimate times. Countless benefits ensue from the provisions a mother supplies, from every essential vitamin and mineral to lifesaving antibodies.

It was once thought that all the perks were one-sided, but some amazing research has shown your baby is giving you more than just those big doe eyes.

The wonder of the mother’s breast is obvious the second their baby comes out of its cozy womb.

Rooting, where the baby tries to find the mother’s breast, begins in those first cuddles. After that you leak every time your baby cries (or any baby for that matter), and your milk supply is carefully measured each day to exactly how much your baby needs to drink.

All of this is possible because, by perfect design, the hormone oxytocin that is controlled by your profound emotions for your baby is linked to your breastmilk.

It has been widely known that your breastmilk gives your baby the exact antibodies needed to combat the specific virus or bacteria that you have been exposed to, thus protecting their immature immune systems from dangerous infection.

The American Academy of Pediatricians espouse that antibodies and antiviral agents enter your milk and then are administered to the baby as a uniquely formulated medicine.

This is why everyone in the family can be down for the count while your bouncing baby boy is happy as a clam.

In a study found in Clinical and Transitional Immunology it is reported that when a breastfeeding mother or baby get sick, the white blood cells that fight infection increase a whopping 94%, closely matching the white blood cell count of colostrum.

The response is incredibly fast as well, within hours your breastmilk is armed and ready to defend your baby.

In addition to your milk giving your baby what they need to stay out of the woods, your baby is actually reciprocating the favor.

Through the breasts, your sweet little one is giving you the state of their immune system, allowing you to build antibodies for protecting yourself.

Katie Hinde PhD, biologist and associate professor at the Centre for Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University explains to Scary Mommy where the discovery all began.

From the research of Donna Geddes and her team it was found that when a baby nurses, they create a vacuum seal around your breast that allows their spit to get sucked back into the nipple, absorbing into the ducts of the breast.

This is some valuable backwash, not like the kind your toddler leaves in your water bottle after chewing a cracker.

The baby backwash “contains information about what viruses or bacteria the baby may have been exposed to, causing the mammary glands to change the composition of the breastmilk to help fight illness,” says Hinde.

She goes on to explain exactly how the process works:

“When babies suckle, nipple diameter increases and there is a vacuum with negative pressure, delivering fluids from the infant oral cavity— a cocktail of milk and saliva— back into the ducts of the breast.”

There is a fancy term for the super baby backwash too, it is called “retrograde milk flow”.

Apparently, there are some positive aspects of those pesky runny noses. Babies release pathogens in their mucus that mix with their spit to give your body a sample of exactly what it should be fighting against.

It seems that a mother’s breasts have a sort of sixth sense that detects when you or your baby is sick or hungry, and then adjusts the milk accordingly.

Hinde writes on why breastmilk is much more than just a way to satisfy those little tummies:

Mother’s milk is chock-a-block packed with immune molecules. Babies rely on the immunological umbrella of their mother’s breast milk while the baby’s own immune system is naive and developing — this is what makes milk not just food, but also medicine.”

As empirical evidence continues to discover, breastfeeding is the best option for your baby, but now we know it is in your best interest as well.

Not only are you giving your baby a better chance at an increased IQ, a defense against obesity, and a rockin’ immune system, as Mommy Underground has previously reported, you are arming yourself with extra antibodies against nasty little germs looking to crush your weekend plans.

With all the coughing mothers and snotty playmates you are going to come into contact with this season, why not give yourself an extra line of defense, because your lavender hand sanitizer can only go so far.

Please let us know in the comments section if you have noticed that you are not getting as sick as those around you while breastfeeding.