What is lactation?

Qu'est-ce que la montée de lait ?

What is lactation?

The milk surge refers to the physiological process of lactation intensification that enables a woman to breastfeed her baby. It's the beginning of breast-feeding proper, when colostrum (as we'll see later) gives way to transitional milk, then mature milk.

This phenomenon is triggered 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 experiencing this milk surge 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 giving birth. 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. What's more, colostrum is 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 the whiter, lactose-rich breast milk. These are very rich in calories, sugar and fat, and therefore help the baby 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 delivery, 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 a delay in milk production, which may occur five or six days after the birth.

In addition, a pacifier or bottle-fed formula supplement given to the newborn after birth can also delay milk supply.

During lactation, the breasts become warm, heavy, hard, tense and sensitive, and can increase in volume as they fill with milk. Note that the accompanying oedema 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 even be aware that they are lactating.

Fighting the pain of lactation

To combat the pain of lactation, you can, for example, 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 your 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 or mastitis (inflammation of the breast).

To find out more about breastfeeding, you can watch Carole Hervé's videos here: https: //questiondallaitement.com/modules-video-allaitement/

For post-partum, we recommend our menstrual panties!

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The information contained in the articles on www-elia-lingerie.com is general information only. Although reviewed by health professionals, this information is not error-free, does not constitute health advice or consultation, and is not intended to provide a diagnosis or suggest a course of treatment. Under no circumstances may this information be used as a substitute for medical advice or consultation with a healthcare professional. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.