#29 The benefits of breast-feeding: Including lactation reflex; describe the mechanism of milk ejection, shifting hormonal balanceCOLLAPSE
Breastfeeding has a lot of great benefits for both mom and baby. Here are few benefits of breastfeeding:
The let-down reflex is what makes breastmilk flow. When your baby sucks at the breast, tiny nerves are stimulated. This causes two hormones – prolactin and oxytocin – to be released into your bloodstream. Prolactin helps make the milk, while oxytocin causes the breast to push out the milk. Milk is then released or let down through the nipple.
Some women feel the let-down reflex as a tingling sensation in the breasts or a feeling of fullness, although others don’t feel anything in the breast.
Most women notice a change in their baby’s sucking pattern as the milk begins to flow, from small, shallow sucks to stronger, slower sucks.
Some women also notice, while feeding or expressing from one breast, that milk drips from the other.
Your let-down reflex needs to be established and maintained to ensure a good supply of milk. This reflex requires no thought, unless you are having problems with breastfeeding.
The let-down reflex occurs:
The let-down reflex generally occurs 2 or 3 times a feed. Most women only feel the first, if at all. This reflex is not always consistent, particularly early on, but after a few weeks of regular breastfeeding or expressing, it becomes an automatic response.
The let-down reflex can also occur with other stimulation of the breast, such as by your partner.
I personally have breastfed before, I didn’t do it for long due to my son already being primarily on formula because my breastmilk supply was very low. I didn’t experience a lot of hormonal imbalance but I probably would have produced more milk if I ate better foods. Although I did not breastfeed for long, I did have leaks when my son would cry and I had not pumped yet. I also would leak after a hot shower because of the heat. It was very interesting to feel. Every mom has a different breastfeeding journey so everyone experiences something different.