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Polar Bears, Whales, and Hippos, Oh My!

What is cool about polar bears giving birth?  How do baby whales nurse underwater without lips?  What is a bat nursery?  Which animals cross-nurse?  How long is the hooded seal’s childhood?  Why do hippos hold their breath when they nurse?

Dying to know, right?  Ok, well I know some of you are dying to know.  I listened to the best podcast yesterday!  I had been putting it off because it didn’t sound very interesting.  It was called “How do other mammals do it?”  But it was really interesting and gave great insight into human lactation.  Most importantly, the author discusses the unique recipe of each mammal’s breastmilk.  Animals like big cats get large amounts of protein.  Animals like seals get huge amounts of fat.  Cow milk (3.1% protein) is very different from human milk (.9% protein) and is designed to grow calves.  Soybean milk, um, isn’t designed to grow anybody! 

Ok, so go listen to this free podcast if you’re intrigued!  Go to itunes and search Motherwear.  Pick “How do other mammals do it?” 

Really don’t have time to listen?  Check out this handout.  It includes some of the protein/fat breakdowns of animals.  And it is reproducible! 

Oh, and hooded seals have a four day childhood before they wean and venture into the big bad world.  A Pacific Grey Whale delivers a 2000lb baby and produces 6 tons of breastmilk without eating any food while traveling 10,000 miles.  Talk about a supermom!

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