How is breast milk produced? Breastfeeding rules, tips and tricks

How is breast milk produced? What is the mechanism and principle of its formation? What can and cannot be done while breastfeeding? What you need to know about lactation? How to maintain the beneficial properties of breast milk? To these and many other questions, women often have to look for answers on their own. So this is only one thing - the time has come to find out the most relevant and useful information on breastfeeding.

how is breast milk produced

All the benefits of mom's milk

Needless to say, how useful is breast milk for the harmonious growth and development of the baby? Natural feeding is one of the most important factors in a healthy baby's future. A woman must eat properly to provide her baby with all the necessary vitamins and nutrients that stimulate his development.

Breastfeeding is especially relevant in the first months of a child’s life. The baby just came into the world - for a tiny organism it is very stressful. The small ventricle is just beginning its work, so the food of the baby should be adapted as much as possible to the capabilities of the still fragile organ. And there is nothing better than what was invented by nature itself - mother's milk. In addition, the baby is in dire need of bodily contact with his mother. Regular breastfeeding at the request of the baby is the best way to communicate with the baby, which provokes the production of mother's milk.

Why do I need to breastfeed?

Mom's milk is both food and drink. Therefore, the baby can not be drunk with water if it is breast-fed (only if it is very hot). Nature provided for everything: the composition of mother's milk, and the mechanism of its production, and directly the very meaning of the process of natural feeding.

The composition of mother's milk contains the necessary proteins and fats, essential amino acids and carbohydrates, a wide variety of trace elements and vitamins - all this is contained in the right composition and quantity. In addition, there are white blood cells in the milk of a nursing woman, which increase the resistance of the small body to pathogens and infections. Simply put, mom's milk is a natural antibiotic that strengthens the baby’s immune system.

Breast milk is characterized by optimal temperature, sterility and readiness for use at any time. Lactation promotes the formation of a close relationship between a woman and a child. Many note that regular attachment to the chest contributes to the appearance of the maternal instinct (in the event that it suddenly does not work out to this day).

When breastfeeding (soft, supple and elastic), the baby develops the correct bite, immunity forms. It is known that breast milk is produced from the blood, which means that the mother’s diet should be full and balanced.

how is breast milk produced in women

How to prepare for lactation?

Before you learn how breast milk is produced, it is worth getting acquainted with no less important information on how to prepare the mammary glands for breastfeeding. So, even during pregnancy, you should pay attention to the shape and size of the nipples. They can be pronounced, flat or even retracted. It should be recalled that the baby sucks directly the breast itself, and not the nipple. But nevertheless, with the convenient form of the latter, eating will be much easier and more enjoyable. Women whom nature has awarded flat or inverted nipples should not be upset - you just need to prepare them for feeding.

It is possible to impose special caps made of silicone on the areoles (dark nasal area) - they have a hole in which the nipple extends. It is recommended to wear this attribute 3-4 weeks before the expected date of birth and 30 minutes before feeding in the first month of the baby’s life. If a woman did not have time to solve the problem with nipples before childbirth, do not despair. Using a breast pump will correct this situation. Too much to be puzzled over how much milk is produced is not worth it.

How long is breast milk produced?

Breast milk formation mechanism

So it's time to find out how breast milk is produced. For this you have to look into the course of human anatomy. It is worth to find out how the female breast is arranged. Milk is produced directly by the mammary gland under the influence of the hormone oxytocin (it is also responsible for the formation of contractions during childbirth) and prolactin (its concentration increases when the baby is breastfeeding).

These two hormones are produced by the pituitary gland - a specific gland located in the lower part of the brain. As soon as the concentration of prolactin increases, milk production is stimulated. Oxytocin, in turn, pushes the product through contraction of the muscles that are located around the cells responsible for the formation of milk. Further along the milky ducts, it enters the nipple and the woman can feel the swelling of the mammary glands.

Many are interested in how long it takes to produce breast milk. The speed of its production depends on the degree of emptying of the chest. In the filled mammary gland, it arrives slowly, while in the devastated milk production occurs much faster. A strong stay is facilitated by the frequent attachment of the baby to the chest. Intensive work of the mammary glands is observed in the first 3-4 months of a child’s life. In the future, this process slows down. Now it became clear where breast milk is produced. Now you can get acquainted with other, no less interesting, information.

through how much breast milk is produced

How does the composition of breast milk change?

Throughout the entire period of lactation, its composition changes. This can be seen by its consistency and color. Having understood how breast milk is produced, you can study its composition and characteristics throughout the entire period of lactation.

So, in the first days after giving birth, “colostrum” is produced - a thick and sticky substance of a yellowish tint, which contains immune proteins that are essential for the formation of strong immunity in infants. They are needed to adapt the sterile organism of the infant to environmental conditions. Colostrum is excreted in droplets, but even this amount is quite enough for the child to be full.

The so-called transitional milk appears approximately on the 3-4th day after birth. It is more liquid in consistency, but its composition is practically no different from colostrum.

How is breast milk produced in women in the future? About 3 weeks after delivery, mature milk moves along the milky ducts to the nipples - it is liquid, white and not as greasy as colostrum. Its composition is fully consistent with the needs of a small organism.

why little breast milk is produced

What you need to know about milk?

Almost 90% of it consists of water, so it’s especially not worth it to milk a child (this can only be done in hot weather). Fat in breast milk contains about 3-4%, but this indicator can vary.

At the very beginning of feeding, so-called front milk is secreted, which accumulates around the nipple. It is non-greasy, translucent. We can say that this is water for the child. There is much more fat in the back milk - it enters the baby’s body immediately after the first serving. In the first months of lactation, milk is more oily compared to that produced at the 5-6th month of a baby’s life.

Essential amino acids are present in breast milk. There are also immune proteins (approximately 1%), carbohydrates (about 7%), lactose, white blood cells, as well as essential vitamins and other beneficial substances.

Full or hungry?

Sometimes a nursing mother is not at all interested in how a woman's breast milk is produced. There are things that are of much greater interest - is there enough milk for the baby? There are certain factors and indicators that will help you find the answer to this question.

First of all, it should be reminded to newly minted mothers that the baby should be applied to the chest as soon as he wants. It’s easy to understand: a child whimpers, sucks a fist, turns its head in different directions (searches for a nipple), opens its mouth wide. On average, it is 11-13 times a day.

To the baby is full, it should be correctly applied to the chest. The child should suck rhythmically for 5-20 minutes. At this time, you can hear the characteristic sounds of swallowing. A newborn can fall asleep under his chest - there is nothing to worry about. A hungry child will never be calm. By the way, the baby can suckle breasts not only when he is hungry - the baby with great pleasure grabs the nipple to calm, comfort, to remove the gas, sleep, etc.

If the baby is gaining weight well, is not capricious and meets all the development parameters, mother has nothing to worry about. This means that the baby is eating up. Therefore, newly made mothers should not once again ask themselves the question of how much breast milk should be produced.

breast milk is made from blood

How to stimulate lactation?

Everyone knows that breast milk is made from blood. Based on this, we can conclude that for its enhanced production it is necessary to eat foods with a lactogenic effect. But the question of how much milk is produced is asked by many. There are some recommendations that will help stimulate the feeding process and the adequate production of breast milk:

  1. As already mentioned, two hormones, prolactin and oxytocin, are responsible for the production of breast milk. They are produced when the baby is sucking. It only means that regular application is the most important condition for stimulating lactation. Nightly application is necessary in the first place, since oxytocin is especially strongly secreted at night.
  2. A happy mother is a healthy and calm baby. This condition means that a woman should avoid stressful situations and nervous strain, mental and physical fatigue.
  3. Constant contact with the child also enhances the production of oxytocin.
  4. Warm shower and gentle massage of the mammary glands.
  5. Special teas for nursing mothers (available at the pharmacy).
  6. Royal jelly is one of the most effective means for better production of breast milk.
  7. Walnuts and honey are natural stimulants. You should only carefully use honey, as it is a fairly strong allergen.

A nursing woman should give up bad habits.

Milk pumping

Studying the question of how much milk is produced after a meal, it is worth paying attention to such a point as decantation. In what cases is it necessary? How to do it right and why? These and many other questions will be answered right away.

Straining is necessary:

  • If you need to feed a sick or premature baby (in the case when the baby can not suckle).
  • If you urgently need to leave the child for a while.
  • With stagnation of milk to prevent the formation of an inflammatory process.
  • If there is an increased productivity of the mammary glands.

Many women may doubt the need for pumping. First of all, they care about how much milk is produced. What if a woman expresses her breast, and the baby wakes up and wants to eat? To prevent this from happening, you need to feed the baby well and only then decant the remaining milk.

how quickly breast milk is produced after a meal

Properties and characteristics

We have already learned where milk is produced from. Now you can get acquainted with the properties of this product and its distinctive features.

  • For babies, this is a source of drink and food.
  • It contains special enzymes that help a small body adapt to other products.
  • In the process of feeding under the influence of oxytocin, the baby calms down. The same thing happens with mom.
  • Breast milk has anti-cancer properties.
  • Helps strengthen the immunity of the child.
  • It has an antibacterial property (therefore, it can be instilled into the nose for cleansing).
  • Breast milk forms a strong barrier that protects the baby’s body from food allergies.

In addition, natural nutrition prevents the formation of digestive disorders. Experienced mothers know that babies who are breastfed are much less likely to suffer from colic and other digestive troubles.

Many women care about the question of why little breast milk is produced. The answer is very simple: the fault is a rare attachment to the chest. Studies have shown that crowded breasts significantly slow down the milk production process. And this means only that a sufficient amount of product will be promoted only by frequent attachment of the baby to the chest.

where is breast milk produced?

What is the relationship between a woman’s diet and breast milk production?

In fact, the amount and rate of filling of the mammary glands is in no way connected with the nutrition of the nursing mother. Simply put, you don’t have to eat everything in unlimited quantities - this can cause the appearance of extra pounds, which the newly made mother absolutely does not need.

At the same time, diets and other dietary restrictions are strictly prohibited! You need to eat normally. It is advisable to diversify your diet with more wholesome and nutritious foods: more vegetables, fruits and cereals. Mom should remember that everything that she consumes enters the body of the child. Therefore, with great caution should be treated with products that can cause an allergic reaction.

However, there are some foods that can indirectly affect the quality of breast milk. So, for example, onions or garlic give the infant food a specific flavor. But this does not mean that the baby categorically refuses to eat, it is quite possible that he will like it.

Some amazing facts about milk

To prevent breast milk from being produced, it is enough to block the production of prolactin and oxytocin. Many people prefer to use special medications for this. However, experts recommend abstaining from this - after all, mother's milk is the best food for the baby. In addition, after 6 months of feeding, the intensity of milk production decreases by itself - the baby can already be fed, so a woman can simply "dress up". This is in case she does not know what to do to stop producing breast milk.

Now for the fun facts about baby nutrition.

  1. Day milk is different from night milk. The latter is more oily and nutritious. The composition of the product may vary depending on delivery (natural birth or cesarean section) and even on the season (in summer there is more water in milk than in winter).
  2. Breast milk is only good for the baby. Moms often think about what it tastes and try. In fact, the production of mammary glands is useless for the adult organism and can even be harmful, since the digestive tract has already learned how to process it. Therefore, now fashionable baking from breast milk is just an advertising move.
  3. A special diet for a nursing mother should not be followed. It is enough to recall only how our grandmothers and great-grandmothers fed babies in the war and post-war years. How could they afford an abundance of fruits, fresh vegetables, nuts and cereals? Nevertheless, they were able to raise healthy and strong children. Nature arranged everything in an amazing way: as soon as the period of teething of the first teeth begins, mother's milk is somehow surprisingly saturated with calcium. And at the time when the baby begins to intensively learn about the world, the mother’s milk will become rich in proteins necessary for the baby.
  4. The most magical food is colostrum. It is produced in small quantities, but even 2 ml will be enough for 7 ml of the stomach. In fact, colostrum is the first vaccination of infants, as it contains various hormones, beneficial bacteria and antibodies. It is interesting that the composition of colostrum changes all 3 days during which it is produced.
  5. For those who are interested in how long breast milk is produced, let’s tell you that the women's dairy factory works around the clock.
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how fast is breast milk produced


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  3. Hazardous foods. We are talking about the notorious citrus fruits, chocolate and berries, which supposedly can provoke an allergic reaction. Breast milk contains special antibodies that block allergens. But the special “anti-allergenic diet” is a direct way to feed a child who is more prone to allergies.
  4. There are special drugs that increase the quantity and improve the quality of breast milk. This is another common but not confirmed opinion. The next marketing move is all. It is much cheaper and more reliable to use homemade teas and decoctions of herbs (you only need to do this with extreme caution).

Nursing mothers will probably be interested in how foods get into the baby’s food and how quickly breast milk is produced after eating. It is worth considering this issue in more detail.

The mechanism of penetration of beneficial and nutrients into milk

As soon as food or liquid enters the stomach, they break down and penetrate the blood, which accelerates through the vessels, including those in the mammary glands. The same thing happens when taking certain medications. Milk is updated immediately after the harmful substances are removed from the blood. For some drugs, this is 8-12 hours.

Experts sometimes recommend decanting the first milk, as it contains the highest concentration of harmful substances.

What else is there to say about breastfeeding? Only that its need in the first year of a baby’s life is obvious. Natural feeding of the baby is the key to its harmonious growth and development, as well as a strong connection with the mother.

One can only hope that this article helped find answers to many questions, including understanding how and how much milk is produced.


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