If a mother understands the process of lactation, she will be able to
recognize and implement measures that can help solve many
breastfeeding problems, such as oversupply and low milk supply.
How Does it all Start?
At 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 by branching out with clusters of alveoli on the ends.
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 your baby. This process may take longer in mothers who have had a c-section delivery.
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.
A mother's body will usually not produce milk before the baby is born, as the levels of
progesterone are too high, but once she delivers the placenta, the levels
of progesterone will drop. The high level of prolactin then triggers
copious milk production “lactogenesis 2"
A mother should
start to breastfeed her baby as soon as possible, as this will trigger the release of Prolactin and therefore trigger increased breast milk production.
Mothers only start to feel the increased breast fullness 2 – 3 days after birth. (Up to 5 days in Moms who have had a c-section, or who have various issues such as PCOS or diabetes)
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
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 via supply and demand. The more baby drinks,
the more milk the mother will produce.