when does breast milk come in: All about the rise of milk
The rise of milk begins during pregnancy.
If you are expecting a baby, you may have noticed some significant physical changes. Sensitive, swollen, nipples and areolas (circle of skin around the nipple) dark: these are the first signs of your pregnancy. Some experts believe that this color change can also be a helpful aid to breastfeeding. This is the way nature uses to assist newborns to feed themselves visually. Another sign of pregnancy is the appearance of tiny bumps around the areola, which also play a role in breastfeeding. These bumps produce a fatty substance that cleans, lubricates and protects the nipple from infections during breastfeeding.
What’s going on inside your breasts?
Perhaps more important than this visible transformation, significant changes take place inside your breasts. Your developing placenta stimulates the secretion of estrogen and progesterone, which in turn stimulates the complex biological system that makes lactation possible.
Before pregnancy, a mixture of supportive tissue, lactating glands, and protective fat, or adipose tissue (the amount of which varies among women, which explains why breasts have very different sizes and shapes) makes up a large part of your breasts. In fact, your breasts now sensitive and swollen are preparing for your pregnancy since you are a six weeks old embryo. When you were born, your main milk ducts – all the channels that carry the milk – were already formed. Your mammary glands did not change until puberty when a stream of female estrogen hormone made them grow and grow. During pregnancy, these glands take on even more volume. By the time your baby is born, the glandular tissue of your breasts doubles in size, giving you bigger breasts than ever before. Hidden in the middle of fat cells and glandular tissue is a complex network of ducts, called milk ducts. The hormones of pregnancy cause an increase of these channels, both in number and size; these channels then branch off to smaller canals located near the chest wall and called canaliculi. Each canaliculus ends with a small group of “grape bunch” bags, or alveoli. A group of cells is called a lobule and a group of lobules a lobe. Each breast contains between 15 and 20 lobes. The milk is produced inside the cells, surrounded by tiny muscles that compress the glands and pour the milk into the canaliculi. The latter converge to larger channels that end in your nipple (We can compare the nine milk ducts of each breast to the straw that would all end at the end of the nipple and carry milk into the baby’s mouth). The development of the milk ducts stops in the second trimester of pregnancy,
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Rise and prolactin The increase in milk is optimal within 24 to 48 hours after birth. This period bears the scientific name of lactogenesis. Once you have expelled the hormone-producing placenta, the levels of estrogen and progesterone start to decrease in your body. The hormone prolactin, which increases during pregnancy, is released to do its job. Pituitary hormone tells your body to produce a lot of milk to feed your toddler. As your body prepares for lactation, it sends more blood into the alveoli, which makes your breasts firm and full. Swollen blood vessels, combined with an abundance of milk, make your breasts temporarily painful and engorged. The frequent feedings during the first days should quickly relieve you.
Colostrum or “first milk.”
During the first days of breastfeeding, your baby will be fed a concentrated, creamy, high-protein, low-fat substance called colostrum. You may lose a few drops of this thick, yellowish material during the last weeks of your pregnancy (or as early as the second trimester for some women). This precious and easily digestible liquid is rich in anti-infectious antibodies, immunoglobulins, which strengthen the immune system of the infant. Breast milk changes over time to suit the needs of the child. The milk that your baby drinks come from the internal cells. The process is as follows: by sucking the nipple, the baby stimulates the large pituitary that releases oxytocin – as well as prolactin – into the bloodstream. When it reaches the breast, oxytocin causes the contraction of the tiny muscles that surround the alveoli filled with milk. The latter then pours into the channels that carry it to the milk ducts, just below the areolas. When he sucks, the newborn presses on the milk ducts and the milk flows into his mouth. During the first few days of breastfeeding, you may experience contractions in the abdomen as your baby suckles. This usually mild discomfort is the release of oxytocin that helps your uterus to regain its pre-pregnancy size (This same hormone causes your uterus to contract during labor). Another sign: you may feel calm, satisfied and happy when you are breastfeeding. No wonder some people call oxytocin, the hormone of love. As your flow of milk increases, you may also experience tingling, stinging, burning or tingling in your breasts. Some women claim that their milk drips or even squirts during ejection. It is essential to create a peaceful environment for feedings – if you are relaxed, your milk will flow more smoothly and abundantly. Many women compare breastfeeding to learning how to ride a bike – it can be a bit difficult at first, but once you – and your infant – are accustomed to it, it becomes a reflex. Burns or tingling in the breasts. Some women claim that their milk drips or even squirts during ejection. It is essential to create a peaceful environment for feedings – if you are relaxed, your milk will flow more smoothly and abundantly.
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