20 Surprising, Eye-Opening, Thought-Provoking Breastfeeding Facts & Stats

Happy August, folks! Did you know August is National Breastfeeding Month? We’ve gathered 20 of the most surprising, eye-opening, and thought-provoking breastfeeding facts and statistics for you – so that you, too, can celebrate the amazing benefits of breastfeeding this August!

  1. Breastfeeding is a natural form of birth control that is 98% effective in preventing pregnancy for the first 6 months after giving birth.1
  2. Breastfeeding in public was illegal in some U.S. states until 2018.2
  3. In Sweden, where parental leave policies are very generous, 98% of babies are breastfed (compared to only 80% in the U.S.).2
  4. Mothers who breastfeed burn an extra 400-600 calories per day.2
  5. The cost savings of breastfeeding (as opposed to purchasing formula) are between $2,000-4,000 per year.3
  6. Mothers who breastfeed average 45 more minutes of sleep per night than their non-breastfeeding counterparts.3
  7. Breastfeeding practices make up some of the few World Health Organization recommendations in which lower-income countries perform better than higher income countries.4
  8. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) by over 33% in high-income countries.4
  9. In low-income countries, babies who are fed formula (rather than breastmilk) are 4 times more likely to die from pneumonia and a whopping 25 times more likely to die from diarrheal diseases.5
  10. Colostrum, the first form of breastmilk produced by a mother, contains between 1-5 million white blood cells/mL (100 times the concentration of white blood cells in adult blood), which protects the baby from illness and disease.6
  11. Increasing breastfeeding practices across the world has the potential to reduce over 800,000 child deaths annually.7
  12. Breastfeeding is associated with a 9% reduced risk of asthma and 19% reduced risk of leukemia in children.7
  13. Breastfeeding for longer periods of time is also associated with 26% reduced odds of childhood obesity.7  
  14. Compared to women who do not breastfeed at all, women who breastfeed for 18+ months have 11% lower odds of breast cancer mortality.7
  15. Relatedly, women who breastfeed their baby daughters reduce their daughter’s risk of developing breast cancer by 25%.8
  16. Vegetarian mothers pass on less environmental contaminants to their breastfeeding babies.9
  17. Most American mothers stop breastfeeding by the time their child is 6 months old, despite the World Health Organization recommending breastfeeding for at least 2 years.10
  18. The U.K. has the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world – only 0.5% of women breastfeed their babies for a whole year.11
  19. A woman named Alyse Ogletree donated 53,081 ounces of breastmilk in her lifetime, which is the world record for breastmilk donation.12
  20. While breastfeeding, a mother’s brain produces prolactin and oxytocin, two natural stress relievers.13


We hope these 20 breastfeeding facts have opened your eyes to the full value of breastfeeding. If you’d like to join our efforts to increase awareness about the importance of breastfeeding this National Breastfeeding Month, feel free to share this article and read up on the latest breastfeeding research here.

References: 

  1. https://www.who.int/features/factfiles/breastfeeding/en/   
  2. https://www.happiestbaby.com/blogs/parents/surprising-facts-about-breastfeeding
  3. https://www.health-foundations.com/blog/2013/11/19/15-cool-facts-about-breastfeeding
  4. https://www.cnn.com/2016/01/28/health/breast-feeding-global-rates-health-impact-lancet/index.html
  5. https://health.usnews.com/health-care/articles/2017-03-27/breast-feeding-may-not-lead-to-smarter-preschoolers
  6. https://www.kindredbravely.com/blogs/bravely/5-fascinating-facts-about-breastmilk
  7. https://www.ilcambiamento.it/files/allattamento1.pdf
  8. https://www.mimijumi.com/blogs/mimijumi-blog/fun-facts-about-breastfeeding
  9. https://www.laleche.org.uk/breastfeeding-and-a-mothers-diet-myths-and-facts/
  10. https://kellymom.com/fun/trivia/bf-numbers/
  11. https://www.bbc.com/news/health-35438049
  12. https://www.parents.com/baby/breastfeeding/basics/9-awesome-facts-about-your-breastfeeding-boobs/
  13. https://www.medela.us/breastfeeding/articles/14-fascinating-facts-about-breastfeeding

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