Breast milk is one of the most miraculous natural experiences in life. When a baby is born, or even on other rare occasions, a woman will start to produce milk that her baby can drink to grow strong and healthy.
Some women will even start producing milk when they’re near babies often.
But how much do we really know about breast milk? We’re going to cover breast milk facts 101, so you can have a better overall understanding of how a woman’s body works.
Table of Contents
- 14 Facts about Breast Milk
- 1. How is breastmilk made?
- 2. Does drinking milk make your breasts bigger?
- 3. How to know if breast milk is bad?
- 4. When does breast milk come?
- 5. How Much Does Breast Milk Go For?
- 6. How Many Calories Are in Breast Milk?
- 7. Is Lesbian Breast Milk Real?
- 8. Is Breast Milk Dairy?
- 9. Is Breast Milk Good for Adults?
- 10. What Are Breast Milk Benefits?
- 11. Do You Know How to Make Breast Milk Without Being Pregnant?
- 12. Are There Drawbacks to Breastfeeding?
- 13. Can Breast Milk Transmit Infectious Diseases?
- 14. Does Breast Milk Provide Any Benefits to Mom?
14 Facts about Breast Milk
1. How is breastmilk made?
If you want to know how breastmilk is made, you need to first question what part of the breast produces milk. The breast itself is a gland, and it’s made mostly of fatty tissue and connective tissues.
This is important to know because this fat and tissue protects the area that makes the milk; the alveoli.
Alveoli are small clusters of cells, and these cells produce the milk in the breasts and transport the milk down through the ducts and to the nipples. When a baby sucks on a nipple, there are 15 – 20 openings that allow the milk to flow out.
2. Does drinking milk make your breasts bigger?
If you’re a mom, there’s no need to try and make your breasts bigger by drinking milk. The truth is that the baby will get enough milk no matter the size of your breasts. Small chested women will produce more than enough milk for their child.
Women who want to make their breasts bigger may wonder if milk will help.
But the results of drinking milk as correlates to breast size are minor at best. You may notice a slight difference, and if you gain weight, the extra fat may go to your breasts, which will make them naturally bigger, too.
If you want to drink milk to make your boobs bigger, keep the following points in mind:
- Soy milk is best
- Meat and dairy can work, too
Soy protein may have some side effects, so this is something you’ll want to research and consider on your own.
3. How to know if breast milk is bad?
Breast milk, straight from your breasts, doesn’t go bad. If you’re a woman who likes to pump her own milk or store it, then you do need to worry about the milk going bad. A few steps you’ll want to take to determine if your breast milk is bad are:
- Smell the milk: If the milk smells sour, you will know it’s bad. Breast milk will go rancid and emit a smell that’s very similar to other milk that goes sour.
- Swirl the container: You can swirl the container of milk to see if the milk separates into two layers. This is supposed to happen, but what’s not supposed to happen is the milk remaining separated, which is a sign that it’s spoiled.
- Taste the milk: You might not like the taste of the milk, but this is a way to determine if it’s bad before giving it to your child. If the milk is bad, you will know by tasting it.
Milk will stay fresh for 72 hours or so in the refrigerator, but if the temperature is low enough, the milk may last as long as 8 days. If you want to store the milk in the freezer, it will stay fresh for even longer – a major bonus.
4. When does breast milk come?
A lot of women wonder: how long does it take breast milk to come in? The question doesn’t have a simple answer. We’ve all seen the television shows where a woman gives birth and then the baby will begin to feed almost immediately.
There is also the lovely skin-to-skin contact the many women have been doing to ensure her baby knows how to feed with greater ease.
If you want to know when breast milk comes in, it depends.
There is a form of milk that is produced immediately at birth called colostrum. This milk, or pre-milk, is nutrient-rich and has many protective properties that every baby needs when they’re growing. This milk may be:
- Thick and yellow
- Thin and watery
The milk is different for many women, but then after a few days, this milk will turn into breast milk. The normal period for this transformation to occur is 3 – 4 days after birth, but it may take some women longer.
The good news is that delays in the milk coming are normal, so you don’t need to fret or lose any sleep over it.
5. How Much Does Breast Milk Go For?
If you have extra breast milk, you can sell it to other moms. This is a good way to make some money, but you’ll want to keep the customers local to ensure that your milk doesn’t spoil. The going rate for breast milk is a mere $2.50 per ounce, so you can make a lot of money.
The reason for people buying breast milk varies.
Some people want to drink the milk themselves, while other moms can’t produce the milk, so they choose to have another woman give their milk to better ensure that their child gets all the nutrients he or she needs.
Can you sell breast milk?
Some jurisdictions may have regulations against the sale of breast milk, so this is something that you will need to look into in your area.
A lot of women are earning $60 a day or more selling their milk.
When you’ve just spent thousands of dollars on delivery and need to buy clothes and furniture, it’s a tempting venture that is becoming increasingly popular.
6. How Many Calories Are in Breast Milk?
Breast milk is caloric, so your baby will need it to maintain a proper weight and continue to grow. While you want to make sure that your baby is a proper weight, the milk also goes a step further and ensures that your baby has a lot of nutrients and enzymes that are otherwise not in formula.
A good rule of thumb is that one cup of breast milk has 171 calories.
If you want to go by fluid ounces, which is what you’ll be putting in your baby bottle, you’ll find that one fluid ounce of a woman’s milk will have around 22 calories.
7. Is Lesbian Breast Milk Real?
A question that we kept coming across when researching our breast milk facts 101 article is quite strange, but it’s still asked often. Can lesbians make breast milk? And this question really has a two-part answer to it.
Women, regardless of orientation, still have the same chemical and physiological makeup, so on a scientific level, there’s nothing stopping a lesbian from producing breast milk.
But then there is the question of pregnancy. A lesbian can’t get pregnant with another woman, so will she ever make milk? Maybe.
If a woman chooses to, she can take supplements that will allow her to lactate. A doctor will prescribe some form of hormonal supplementation to get the milk to be produced, but there are some reports of women who haven’t been pregnant producing breast milk when they need to feed a child.
The body is amazing and modern medicine can help a woman produce milk even if she isn’t pregnant.
8. Is Breast Milk Dairy?
What may surprise you is that human breast milk is not a form of dairy. I know that this is hard to understand, but just because a cow’s milk is dairy doesn’t mean that a woman’s milk is dairy. But, your milk may have dairy in it.
You see, everything you eat is passed on to your baby.
So if you’re on medicine, there’s a good chance it will be passed through your breast milk to the child. Using this same logic, if you have milk with your eggs in the morning, you’ll also pass dairy to your child through your breasts.
Dairy products, as we know and love, are made from cows.
9. Is Breast Milk Good for Adults?
A new trend is starting to pick up traction, and it involves grown adult men seeking out breast milk. A lot of men question can I drink my wife’s breast milk, and technically you can. But just because you can drink breast milk doesn’t mean that you should.
I’m not going to lie – it’s intriguing when you read about breast milk.
Men and women from around the world view breast milk as a sort of serum that can cure all sorts of sicknesses. There are also men that state the milk gives them unbelievable energy and strength when in the gym.
Since the milk is so nutrient-rich, there may be some truth to these claims.
The issue arises when you drink milk from someone that’s not screened. There are market places for breast milk, and if you drink just anyone’s breast milk, you’re putting yourself at risk. There’s no telling what the person has eaten, drank or ingested that can make its way into the milk.
Narcotics can also make their way into the milk, so you may be ingesting a harmful substance.
And to fully understand the craze, we need to know the benefits of breast milk as a whole.
10. What Are Breast Milk Benefits?
I had a woman ask me “do you know how to produce breast milk for my husband?” I knew immediately that the woman wanted to offer her milk to her husband because of all the benefits the milk has to offer. First and foremost, you need to keep in mind that breast milk is not a good calorie meal for a grown adult.
This milk is meant for a child, so an adult will never get their caloric needs from breast milk.
Babies, on the other hand, can subsist just on their mother’s milk. A woman’s breasts are designed to produce milk that is nourishing for a baby. When a baby ingests her mother’s milk, she’s ingesting:
Breast milk is also very easy to digest, so it will go right through the stomach without any aches or pains that dairy causes a person.
On a much deeper level, breast milk also provides a baby with:
- Antibodies so that the baby can fight off bacteria and viruses
- A mix of essential vitamins and minerals
When speaking about a baby, there are studies that link breast feeding to a much healthier child. Women who breast feed will have a child with:
- Lower risk of asthma
- Lower risk of allergies
- Fewer hospitalizations
- Fewer illnesses
- Fewer infections
There are also studies that show babies who have been fed breast milk have a higher overall IQ score when compared to their peers.
So if you’ve ever debated on giving your child breast milk over formula, you know that the benefits of breast milk far outweigh the benefits of formula. While science has done a great job of mimicking a woman’s milk, it still falls short.
11. Do You Know How to Make Breast Milk Without Being Pregnant?
We’ve dabbled with this question previously, and it is possible for a woman who has never been pregnant to lactate and produce breast milk. Science and a deeper understanding of the human body allows a woman to make breast milk through artificial stimulation.
When a woman is pregnant, it will signal the body to make breast milk, which is why the breasts will often get bigger.
Estrogen, prolactin and progesterone are the hormones responsible for signaling the body that it’s time to start producing milk. If you want to mimic the same chemical change that results in the production of milk, you’ll need to take hormonal supplements.
The body is shown to increase all three of these hormones when pregnant.
But when a woman gives birth, progesterone and estrogen levels will decline. This decline doesn’t effect the prolactin levels in the body, which remain high and cause a woman to begin lactation. A doctor is the best person to prescribe a daily regimen of hormones for you.
Once the lactation begins, a woman will want to continue to stimulate the nipples and breasts to ensure that the milk supply continues.
In many cases, a woman will be able to stop taking the supplements and continue to stimulate the breats to keep an adequate supply of milk around. Breast pumps can help, too, and will allow a woman to maintain her milk supply.
12. Are There Drawbacks to Breastfeeding?
If you’re planning on having breast milk, someone will be feeding on it. There are a lot of positives when supplying breast milk to a baby, but there are some minimal drawbacks, too:
- Breasts become tender
- Breasts become larger
- Breasts become heavier
A woman with bresasts that are already large may also note back problems and pain as a side effect of breastfeeding. There’s also a chance of your ducts becoming clogged, and a clog can mean a lot of pain and an infection, too.
If an infection occurs, this will be very uncomfortable and can feel like the flu.
Many women will have a lump or extreme soreness on their breast when they have an infection, and other women may also have a fever. It’s always good to consult with your doctor at this point because bacterial infection or viruses can be passed on to the baby.
13. Can Breast Milk Transmit Infectious Diseases?
A few women looking for breast milk facts 101 will want to know something a little more serious about breast milk: can it carry disease? The answer is yes. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that a woman can transmit HIV or other infectious diseases through the breast milk to her child.
But the risk of transmission is small if it’s a single dose.
If you know that you have an infectious disease of some sort, you’ll want to refrain from breastfeeding or giving your child your own breast milk. Even if the risk of transmission is very low, you never want to chance the life of your baby.
Formula is the best option in this circumstance, and the formula will still allow your baby to grow and be healthy.
14. Does Breast Milk Provide Any Benefits to Mom?
You’ll benefit from knowing that your baby is being fed in the most natural, beautiful way possible. It’s harder to breastfeed than simply giving your baby a bottle, but it’s also a much healthier way for your baby to eat and grow.
If you’re wondering about your own benefits, breast milk production and breastfeeding will make the body produce oxytocin.
Oxytocin is a very important part of your recovery process, as it will cause the uterus to contract. These contractions will result in the uterus returning back to its normal size. Some studies even point to a lower period of blood loss after breastfeeding.
There are a few ongoing studies trying to determine if breastfeeding has an impact on breast cancer risk reduction.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that breastfeeding may make it easier for a woman to lose weight after she gives birth, too.
Breast milk is natural, healthy and great for your baby. The benefits of breast milk may include a much healthier immune system and a lower risk of infection and disease. A woman who wants to breastfeed will want to ask her doctor’s opinion if she has a disease or takes medications.