Breast Milk Production: 5 Stages of Preparing Your Breasts For Feeding

how breast milk is produced

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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.

[ Read: Advantages Of Breastfeeding ]

Two main hormones that are responsible for production of your breast milk are:

  1. Prolactin helps in production of breast milk.
  2. 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.

[ Read: Food To Increase Breast Milk ]

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.

[ Read: Breastfeeding In Public ]

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.

[ Read: How To Latch Baby On Breast ]

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.

[ Read: How Much Milk To Feed A Newborn Baby ]

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.

[ Read: Eating Spicy Food While Breastfeeding ]