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Feeding your baby: How breast milk production works

Milk production, or lactation, is a process specifically unique to new mothers. It’s a fascinating natural process that you’ll surely be interested in knowing a little more!

So, how exactly does your body know to initiate lactation so you are able to feed your baby? And, how does it regulate your supply to satisfy your baby? Let’s find out.

How breast milk production works

Breast milk is formed in the acinar alveoli cells of the mammary glands of your breasts.

There are two separate occasions that make up for the creation of breast milk:

Separation of the placenta from the uterus

When a new mother’s placenta is delivered during childbirth, the level of progesterone in the her body falls dramatically. This stimulates the production of prolactin, an anterior pituitary hormone that acts on the acinar cells of the mammary glands to stimulate milk production.

First, colostrum is released through the mum’s nipples. Colostrum is a watery, yellow fluid that’s full of sugar, vitamins and minerals and antibodies from mum and is vital for baby to have in the few hours after birth.

Physical stimulation of the breast

When an infant begins to suckle the breast, nerve impulses travel from the nipple to the hypothalamus to stimulate the production of the prolactin-releasing factor. This factor further stimulates the active production of prolactin. Milk flows from mum’s alveolar cells through tubules into “milk reservoirs” located behind the nipples.

RELATED: Study shows breastfeeding keeps you heart-healthy

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