The Loh Down On Science

Cooler Moms make more milk

Cooler mouse mommies produce more milk and bigger offspring.

Hey, new moms! Is it time to. . . shave your back?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science

And before you grab that razor, wait.

John Speakman of the University of Aberdeen wanted to boost the milk production of nursing mice in his lab.

Turns out, new mouse mommies need more food and burn more calories to produce milk, making them overheat. Not just annoying to the mice, their milk production is reduced.

So Speakman whipped out his handy Gillette to whisk off unsightly back fur.

His turn as a barber paid off: cooler rodents pumped out fifteen percent more milk than their furrier friends--while eating twelve percent more chow. Their babies grew fifteen percent heavier than hairy moms' offspring.

Speakman thinks ambient temperatures play a role in evolution. Moms at higher latitudes and altitudes may need more food -- and make bigger babies --than those basking in the tropics.

Whether this applies to humans is still unknown. Although, of course, trying to shave your own back is always a great project for sleep-deprived new mothers. And have a pound of cheese! It's entirely normal! Yeah!


blog comments powered by Disqus