Have you ever wondered what goes on in your body to produce all the warm moments you spend breastfeeding? As a breastfeeding mom, you should be proud of the incredible nutrition you provide for your little one. When your baby is born, your body has already been producing breast milk, nature’s perfect food. Then, as your baby grows, your milk changes to continue to meet your baby’s needs.
Amazing, right?! Let us tell you more about how breastfeeding works.
Hormonal Lactation: The First Days
During the latter part of your pregnancy, your breasts will begin produce colostrum and you’ll notice your breasts feeling more “full.” However, a high level of progesterone (a hormone that plays a key role in pregnancy and menstruation) helps prevent milk secretion throughout your pregnancy. But, don’t worry if you notice some leakage. That’s common.. Then, when it’s time for delivery, your progesterone levels will drop very quickly and allow milk to flow for your baby. However, your first meals with your new baby will be very small, but rest assured, a few ounces is all your little one needs. Then, after two or three days you should feel the sensation that you’re breasts are becoming more full, as your progesterone levels have dropped completely and leveled out.
Established Lactation: Maintaining Breast Milk Supply
After the first few days, breastfeeding becomes less of a hormonal process and more about your breastfeeding habits. Frequent and effective breastfeeding will stimulate milk production and increase supply. Your breast contains alveoli (hollow cavities lined with milk-secreting cells). If the milk is not removed, the alveoli can bulge and cause the milk-secreting cells to flatten out and even cause your milk supply to decrease. This can cause discomfort and even a decrease in supply. You can help ensure adequate supply by pumping or breastfeeding frequently.
What do you find most amazing about the miracle of breastfeeding? Share it in the comments below.