According To Experts, Breastfeeding Changes Your Body And Can Even Affect Your Sex Life In Really Weird Ways
Having a baby is arguably the greatest miracle of life. Rumor has it, breastfeeding your baby takes second place. Extensive research has revealed that breastfeeding can provide mother and infant all kinds of benefits including providing her with proteins that stimulate against allergies and eczema. What’s more, it can make vaccines more effective and make babies smarter. But what ways can it affect your body?
Here’s what you can expect.
1. While you breastfeed, your body releases oxytocin and prolactin, which means you’re going to feel *really* good.
Breastfeeding your baby is an emotional experience. Your body becomes flooded with oxytocin when you breastfeed, which is nature’s way of ensuring mom wants to breastfeed. Every breastfeeding mammal produces is laden with casomorphin, which has a sedative effect on your baby. Your body does this to solidify the bonding experience between you and your baby.
2. That means that most moms experience mood dips when they stop breastfeeding.
Of course, some moms are very happy to scrap their nursing bras, while others can suffer from hormonal mood swings once they wean. One way to help prevent a severe mood dip is by weaning very slowly. An abrupt stop to breastfeeding might feel like whiplash to your body, which has been flooded with oxytocin and prolactin for months at this point.
3. You lose 5 to 10 percent of your bone mass within the first six months of breastfeeding.
University of Pittsburgh’s own associate professor of endocrinology, Mara Horwitz, says that, in order to ensure the baby is getting enough calcium, the body takes it directly from the mother’s own bones.
4. You have a higher risk of gum disease.
While you’re pregnant, your hormones change, and you lose the estrogen that is typically there to protect your bones, so once you start breastfeeding, you start leeching calcium like crazy. That lack of calcium also leads to an increase in risk for gum disease. In order to combat this lack of calcium, it’s important to take at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily. Think dark leafy greens, fortified orange juice or fortified almond milk, and it will help.
5. The good news is that you’ll eventually have stronger, healthier bones than you did before.
According to a 2012 study by Osteoporosis International, women who breastfeed for 33 months or longer eventually have stronger, larger bones than moms with less than 12 months of breastfeeding.
6. Your boobs are about to hurt way more often.
Except, this time, it won’t be your body’s monthly warning that your period is on its way. For the first few weeks of breastfeeding, when your boobs start to ache, it means you need to wake up Bebé and feed her. You can take a warm shower before nursing to help with milk flow and will have to apply cool compresses to your breasts between feedings.
7. You may notice hard, marble-sized lumps in your breasts.
That’s also normal. If you’re breastfeeding still, it may be a clogged milk duct, resolved by massaging the area as you breastfeed until that side goes dry. If you’ve already weaned, it’s likely your body absorbing its own milk.
8. Your boobs are going to deflate after weaning, pero no te preocupes–they’ll perk up in six months.
If you’re starting to feel at all anxious about the entire breastfeeding process, remember that everything is temporary. Once you “dry up”, it might feel like your boobs are hangin’ low, but that’s just a natural temporary loss of fat. As your body comes back to equilibrium, fat will return to your boobs.
9. While breastfeeding, you may experience vaginal dryness, tightness or tenderness.
That’s because your body has produced lower estrogen levels while breastfeeding. Some women experience a lower libido while others experience a higher libido while breastfeeding. Either way, you can absolutely use a lubricant to relieve the symptoms and go about your business.
10. Your breasts might leak while you have sex.
Don’t fret. It’s the most normal thing in the world for you to squirt breastmilk when you’re feeling aroused. It’s also far more common to not want to have sex at all, given the body’s production of prolactin, which you need to produce breastmilk, but which also decreases the libido.
11. The longer you breastfeed, the longer break you’re likely to get from a period.
Some women get their period immediately after birth, though they aren’t typically ovulating until six months later. Far more often, while mothers are breastfeeding, they’re also delaying their period. Breastfeeding is high energy work.
12. You’ll probably lose weight while breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding burns an average of 200 to 500 calories per day, and you’ll want to make sure you’re eating as often as you’re hungry to ensure optimal nutrition to the Bebé.
13. For mothers with a history of carpel tunnel, you may need extra support while breastfeeding.
Make sure you relax your grip on Bebé and have enough pillows to support your arm (one under the arm), your back and even between your legs. Stretch your fingers and circle your wrists between feedings.