What is lactation?
Milk supply refers to the physiological process of lactation intensification that enables a woman to breastfeed her baby. It's the beginning of breastfeeding proper, when colostrum (as we'll see later) gives way to transitional milk, then mature milk.
This phenomenon is triggered in particular by the fall in placental hormones following expulsion of the placenta. In addition, prolactin, one of the lactation hormones, is produced in greater quantities and gradually released to activate milk secretion.
In fact, almost all women experience a milk surge, whether they have given birth vaginally or by Caesarean section. Only a few rare cases of specific pathologies prevent women from lactating and being able to breastfeed.
What is colostrum?
Colostrum is a thick, yellow liquid produced by the mother at the end of pregnancy and in the first few days after ldelivery. Its main role is to transmit antibodies from the mother to the baby, so it plays an anti-infectious role, enabling the baby to defend itself when it is no longer protected in the womb. Colostrum is also rich in minerals, proteins and micronutrients, enabling the baby's organs to grow properly, especially those of the digestive tract, and ensuring that the baby's first bowel movements go smoothly.
Colostrum then gives way to a more fluid, white transition milk, before giving way to whiter, lactose-rich breast milk. These are very rich in calories, sugar and fat, and therefore help the baby to grow in size and weight.
When does the milk come in and what are the signs?
The onset of lactation generally occurs on the second or third day after childbirth.
However, if the mother has not been able to breastfeed her baby frequently in the hours following ldelivery, milk production may be somewhat delayed.
A caesarean section, a premature or long and difficult delivery, or hormonal abnormalities can also be the cause of delayed milk production, which may occur five or six days after ldelivery.
What's more, a pacifier or bottle-fed formula supplement given to a newborn after birth can also delay milk supply.
During lactation, the breasts become warm, heavy, hard, tense and sensitive, and can swell considerably as they fill with milk. Note that the accompanying is generally due to an increase in interstitial fluid. Some women may also experience a slight fever. This period of lactation can therefore be more or less painful from one woman to the next, depending on how they are breastfeeding at the time. Nevertheless, some women may not realize that they are lactating.
Fighting the pain of lactation
To combat the pain of lactation, for example, you can take a hot shower while gently massaging your breasts. This will allow the excess milk to flow out and relieve some of the pain.
As we mentioned earlier, breastfeeding your baby as often as possible, or expressing excess milk with a breast pump very frequently, will help you regain supple breasts and avoid complications such as difficulty in establishing a good milk secretion and mastitis (inflammation of the breast).
To find out more about breastfeeding, check out Carole Hervé's videos here: https: //questiondallaitement.com/modules-video-allaitement/
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