It’s undeniable that motherhood changes women’s bodies, but Mallory Smothers was stunned by how her body reacted when her daughter was sick.
In a Facebook post that’s garnered nearly 60,000 shares since Feb. 14, Smothers explained that she noticed a sudden change in her breast milk after nursing her daughter.
“I pumped the milk on the left Thursday [Feb. 11] night before we laid down for bed. I nurse Baby every 2 hours or so overnight and don't pump until we get up for the day. I noticed in the wee hours of Friday morning [Feb. 12], 3 AM or so -- she was congested, irritable, and sneezing a lot. Probably a cold, right?” she wrote.
“When we got up Friday morning, I pumped, just as we always do. What I pumped is on the right side of the photo.”
“I didn't notice a difference until today, but look at how much more the milk I produced Friday resembles colostrum (The super milk full of antibodies and leukocytes you make during the first few days after birth) and this comes after nursing the baby with a cold all night long.”
Smothers cited a 2013 study in the medical journal Clinical and Translational Immunology in which Australian researchers found that when sickly infants nurse or when the mother is ill, the number of leukocytes in breast milk dramatically increased. A leukocyte, also known as a white blood cell, fights against diseases and foreign bodies.
Smothers also mentioned an article from the Society for Science and the Public, which cited “baby backwash” as part of what triggers that immune response. “Pretty awesome huh?!” Smothers wrote. “The human body never ceases to amaze me.”