There are several questions linked to breastfeeding and it is natural for new moms to be curious about it.
Breastfeeding is a completely natural act and has been one of the most natural methods of feeding babies. The milk is produced by glands, which gets activated in your pregnancy.
Breastfeeding leaves you and your baby happy and content, by creating a strong and wonderful bond between you both. You must also be knowing that it also boosts your and baby’s health and immunity. Well mommies, do you want to know how milk is produced in breast? Here is something to clear all your doubts.
How Breast Milk Is Produced In Body?
The moment you get pregnant, your body starts processing breast milk. Hormones start playing their parts in producing breast milk. Though the production of milk is controlled by the hormones it is your baby that decides how much and how often he shall require your milk.
Full breasts signify a slow milk production. Process of milk production is faster in empty breasts. The fat content also tends to remain high in this case. Your body makes milk the moment your baby empties all the contents.
Two main hormones that are responsible for production of your breast milk are:
- Prolactin helps in production of breast milk.
- Oxytocin aids movement of your milk and produces the ‘let down’ reflex. You might feel slight stinging or tingling in your breasts in this process.
Stages Of How Much Breast Milk Produced In A Day:
Many new mothers tend to nurture too many questions about breast milk. Here we shall see how and when your breasts produce milk. Your breasts go through different stages while producing milk…
1. First Stage:
This begins in your second trimester. This stage in known as lactogenesis I.
- Hormones are released in your mammary glands to start producing milk.
- After about 1 or 2 days, you give birth to your baby, your breasts produce little amount of colostrum.
- This thick substance constitutes the first food for your baby.
2. Second Stage:
This stage begins after around 4 days after you have given birth.
- Mature milk comes out at this stage. Lactogenesis II is the stage when milk comes out in huge volumes.
- You may feel the fullness in your breasts with increase in milk production.
- Your milk may come in after 10 days.
- Milk production may be delayed by problems like obesity or diabetes.
- Flat nipples or a cesarean section can also cause delays.
3. Third Stage:
This stage commences when your baby is around 9 days old.
- The third stage continues till you stop feeding.
- You must express milk regularly from your breasts on a regular basis to ensure your breasts continue to produce milk.
- You can use a breast pump for this purpose.
4. Fourth Stage:
This lasts for about 40 days after your last session of breastfeeding. At this stage your milk production reduces gradually till it stops completely.
5. Milk Let-Down:
This refers to the process of milk flowing to your breasts.
- You may experience a tingling or tight feeling in the course of this process.
- Let-down happens when your baby latches to start feeding.
- This might happen even when you hear, see or think of your baby.
How Breast Milk is Produced?
Mammary glands produce breast milk. Different parts in the mammary glands play important role in making breast milk. Here we shall take a closer look on how is milk produced in breast:
- Alveoli are the region where breast milk is produced. Grape like sacs are surrounded by small muscles that squeezes to produce milk in the ductules.
- Ductules are tiny canals that transport milk from alveoli to the actual milk ducts.
- Milk ducts are a complex network of canals that carry milk from the alveoli and ductules to your new born baby. These increase in size as well as numbers in your pregnancy.
When your baby starts feeding, the sucking stimulates your brain to release the prolactin hormone. With passage of hours, the prolactin level starts falling again. It gets boosted up when your baby feeds again. The more you feed, the more boost does the prolactin levels in your blood stream get to produce more milk. Prolactin causes your periods to stop and suppress ovulation.
Delays In Milk Production:
In some cases it takes around three to four days for milk to arrive. There may be several causes behind it. Here we shall explore some of them:
- It happens in case you have gone through a stressful labor because of an emergency C-section.
- If you are suffering from diabetes and are being treated with insulin. Your body gets conflicting signals in this case. Your breasts will need insulin to begin the milk production along with your body. The best thing that you can do to stimulate your milk production is feed frequently.
- There might remain some placenta fragments even after the birth of your baby and it may be interfering with prolactin. In such cases, doctor will diagnose and get an ultrasound done if necessary.
What You Can Do If Your Breast Milk Is Delayed?
Nursing your breasts for 2 to 3 hours can help stimulate milk production. Here are some helpful suggestions that you can try:
- You must drink plenty of fluids.
- You need to enjoy good amount of sleep.
- Use a breast pump available in the hospital to stimulate milk production.
- You may be offered some supplements to increase milk production.
You need to remember that there are no answers for late-coming milk and no particular approach that might help you in this case. You have to wait if the milk production is late and continue with the formula milk till breast milk arrives. Stay in touch with your doctor and follow his suggestions as well.
How To Create A Supportive Nursing Environment?
Breastfeeding is one of the best ways you can create a secured and loving environment for your child. Here is what you can do to create a supportive nursing environment:
- Look for a peaceful surrounding.
- If you are outside, you can drape a cover over your shoulder and breastfeed your child.
- Get in touch with relatives and friends, who support breastfeeding.
- Restrict visitors who make you feel uncomfortable.
- Position your baby properly.
- Offer adequate sucking time.
How To Prepare Your Breasts For Feeding?
There are a few measures you can take before nursing your baby. Some of these are mentioned below:
- You can take a warm bath or place warm towels on your breasts.
- Massaging the breast tissues help increasing flow of milk.
- If you find it difficult to feed or in case you find your baby getting frustrated, make sure to change your breasts several times while feeding.
Hope you liked our post on how the breast milk is produced. There is nothing to worry if you are not able to feed your baby sufficient milk in the initial days. Get in touch with a lactation consultant, who will advise you on breastfeeding.