How does Breastmilk Production work?
If Moms understand the process of breastfeeding, they will be able to
recognize and implement measures that can help them with many
breastfeeding problems such as oversupply and low milk supply.
How does it all start?
In the beginning the
hormones that are produced by pregnancy, start to change and grow your
milk ducts; they start getting ready for breastmilk production by
increasing in number and branch out with clusters of alveoli on the end.
During your pregnancy, just half way through, your endocrine control system will start to trigger the making of
colostrum and your milk supply will start to come in 30-40 hours after giving birth
to baby. Your baby’s tummy is so small at this stage that he/she only
needs a few drops of colostrum with every feed to be satisfied.
body does not produce milk before baby is born, as your levels of
progesterone are too high, but once you deliver the placenta your levels
of progesterone will drop. The high level of prolactin now triggers
copious milk production “lactogenesis 2”
start to breastfeed baby as soon as possible as this will start to
release prolactin and therefore trigger increased breastmilk production.
Moms only start to feel the increased breast fullness 2 – 3 days after birth.
When your body is signaled to start producing milk, the hormone Oxytocin, is released and this causes the milk to be pushed out of the
Read more about breastfeeding hormones here.
After lactogenesis 2, there is a switch to your autocrine
system. This process of milk production is called lactogenesis 3. This
is the maintenance stage of milk production, in which breastmilk
production is controlled through supply and demand. The more baby drinks,
the more milk mom will produce.
Read more on the anatomy of the lactating breast.
Milk Synthesis is Controlled in the following way:
* When your breasts are full, milk production slows down.
* When your breasts are empty, milk production is sped up.
breasts will usually be very full the first few days after let down as
your body does not know yet how much baby actually needs, but as time
goes by your breast adapt to baby’s needs.
Breast Milk Supply Throughout the Day
Milk volume is larger in the mornings and gradually decreases throughout the day, and also becomes more fatty throughout the day.
Increasing my Breastmilk Production
Moms that want to increase their milk supply will need to make sure
that their breasts are empty after every feeding so that their milk
synthesis is faster.
How to Increase Breast Milk Production:
* Empty your breast after each nursing session and even between nursing sessions.
* Fenugreek can be used -
Read more on Fenugreek here.
* Breastfeeding on demand.
(herbal and drug).
and compression will also help increase milk production.
* Make sure that baby has a
so that he/she can stimulate your nipple effectively and also drain the breasts well.
* Offer both breasts to baby, but wait for baby to empty one side before offering the other one.
* Do not skip night feeds.
* Keep stress to the minimum.
* More tips here on the
initiation of lactation.
Decreasing my Breastmilk Production
“block nursing” – Discussed on the
The Composition of Breast Milk
milk changes as baby grows. The fat volume also increases as baby
becomes older as baby needs the extra fat. Mom passes all her immune
benefits over to baby too. Many Moms think that they should stop
breastfeeding when they become sick, but Moms should not as they are
actually helping baby receive their fighting properties to enable them to
handle the flu better when they get sick.
What is Foremilk and Hind milk?
Foremilk is the milk that has collected in the front of your breast's milk producing cells and is the milk baby receives in the beginning of a feed. Hind milk is the fattier milk that has collected at the back of the milk producing cells and is the milk baby receives gradually as the breastfeeding session continues. This is also one of the reasons why baby should finish one
breast before given the other one as baby becomes more satisfied by the
more substantial hind milk.
Read more on foremilk and hind milk imbalance.
Other pages on "breastfeeding problems" in connection with breastmilk production
- First time breastfeeding moms
- Breastfeeding after a c section
- Low milk supply
- Breast massage
- Relax during breastfeeding
- Latching on
- The importance of colostrum
- Pumping exclusively - Breastfeeding after breast surgery
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