How is breast milk produced and produced in women: 5 stages of the lactation period - from colostrum to involution

Contents of

  • 1. When and how does lactation occur?
    • 1.1. Hormones and their features
    • 1.2. Duration of lactation
  • 2. How many stages does lactogenesis share?
    • 2.1. Why does my chest hurt during lactation?
  • 3. How does milk production go?
  • 4. Why do lactation crises occur?
    • 4.1. How to properly assess the situation?
    • 4.2. How to behave during this period?
  • 5. What is the involution of lactation?
    • 5.1. How does it affect the mammary glands?
  • 6. Signs of the involution of
    • 6.1. Age of child
    • 6.2. Increased sucking activity of
    • 6.3. Fatigue of the mother
    • 6.4. Psychological fatigue of both participants in the
  • process 7. What changes occur in the mammary glands?

Mother's milk is indispensable for the baby as the main food from the first days of life. The natural mechanism inherent in a woman by nature is of incomparable value to the existence of mankind. How

ever, more and more young women are abandoning it, preferring to nurture children artificially. What is actually lactation, how is it formed, what benefit does the mother and child give?

Breast-feeding Breastfeeding is an unforgettable experience in a woman's life, as well as establishing a close emotional connection with the newborn

When and how does lactation occur?

Lactation is a complex, but natural for a woman, the moment of breast milk formation, which accumulates in the chest and is then removed from it by sucking on the baby's nipple. The basis of what is happening is hormonal restructuring, which does not depend on the size of the bust. Preparation of the breast to the formation of milk in it is called lactogenesis. Lactopoiesis is the medical name for maintaining lactation.

The beginning of the development of lactation rearrangements falls on pregnancy, and at the time of birth, the already correctly adjusted hormonal background of the woman causes the milk to come. Where does breast milk come from?

The necessary amount of milk is formed due to the presence in the mother's body of three hormones: prolactin, placental lactogen and oxytocin. Entering into the blood, these hormones stimulate the beginning of the lactation process in the woman who gave birth.

Let's see what they are responsible for, and how the physiology of the female body contributes to this.

Hormones and their features

We have already found out that the natural physiology of lactation is caused by three important hormones. Each of these three hormones fulfills its own role, predetermined by nature. Placental lactogen is excreted by placenta cells in late pregnancy, when the mechanism of breast preparation for successful milk production is activated. The concentration of the hormone gradually decreases after delivery, and after a few days it completely disappears from the blood of the fetus and mother.

Fetching a child Placental lactogen is produced at the gestation stage of the fetus

Prolactin initiates and supports the production of milk in the norm during lactation. If the amount of prolactin in the blood does not correspond to the normal value, a failure occurs. The hormone belongs to peptides, and it is produced in the pituitary gland. An increase in the amount of prolactin begins at the time of pregnancy, and at the time of birth of the baby, the cells that secrete it are 70-80% of all pituitary cells. Prolactinum is called the hormone of motherhood, not without reason, because only through it the whole mechanism of milk formation during breastfeeding is launched.

Oxytocin organizes fluid movement through the milk ducts and supports the reflex process of milk extraction. Feel how it works, you can, feeling a slight tingling in your chest and when you leave a small amount of milk between the feedings. Nutrient fluid accumulates in the alveoli, then passes along the tubules and ducts, overcomes the sinuses and gets through the nipple to the baby.

Duration of lactation

Duration refers to individual parameters and may vary from several months to several years. The recognized norm is indicated by specialists in a period of 5-24 months. The first weeks after the birth of the baby, the volume of nutrient fluid in the mother may differ. Its stable amount is established after 6-12 days, and milk is produced as much as necessary for the child's full development. From this moment, lactation lasts a minimum of 3-6 months.

Prolonged breastfeeding After a two-year period, lactation will be suspended naturally

Synthesis of hormones that support the formation of milk, ends if the woman stops breastfeeding, takes about 1-2 weeks. An important component of all that happens is regular emptying of the breast. If the regularity of the devastation of the breast is not observed, the secret stagnates in the alveoli and ducts, the arrival of the milk slows down and can stop completely. In just one day, my mother produces 600-1300 ml of milk.

How many stages does lactogenesis share?

Consider closer lactogenesis. Physicians it decomposes into several important stages:

  • The first stage begins 12 weeks before the birth of the child, when the colostrum produces colostrum. The level of prolactin, estrogen and progesterone rises, against this background the woman's breast changes, her sensitivity increases. Prolactin controls the development of alveoli and lobules located in the mammary gland.
  • 2nd stage starts at the time of delivery. Doctors tend to determine its beginning with the first application of the baby to the breast. The child makes the first attempts at breast sucking and receives the most valuable maternal colostrum.
  • The third stage is a transitional phase, marked by the gradual transformation of colostrum into full-fledged milk. The duration of the third stage takes 3-7 days. It takes place in three steps: the first 3 days of colostrum are produced, then the early transitional milk is formed, replaced by late transient milk, and, finally, the development of mature milk begins.


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The complete lactogenesis formula looks like this: colostrum - & gt;Early transitional milk - & gt;Later transitional - & gt;Ripe milk. If the transition from colostrum to the first two forms takes about 3-7 days, then maturity of milk is required from 3 weeks to 3 months. Since hormones are involved in all stages of lactation, its course does not depend on whether the woman feeds the baby or not. For the proper production of breast milk, it is important to follow simple rules:

  • Carry the baby often to increase the amount of prolactin receptors in the breast. This contributes to the rapid interaction of the components of the breast with prolactin, which ensures the production of milk. The resulting compound prepares the basis for the next stage of lactogenesis.
  • Refuse from the hourly regulation of feedings. The child should be given breast on demand, at least 2 hours later, including at night. Breast it is better not to decant and not to soothe the baby with a pacifier or a pacifier.

Why does my chest hurt during lactation?

Where does the chest pain come from? Painful sensations in the chest appear in the second stage of lactation, when the hormone oxytocin enters into action."Reflex oxytocin," as doctors call it, is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • before the beginning of feeding and during it in the chest tingles and burns;
  • feels pain and a feeling of excessive filling of the chest;
  • the breast begins to leak a few minutes before feeding;
  • when the baby is interrupted while feeding, milk continues to stand out.
Chest pain At the second stage of becoming lactation, the chest can significantly hurt

Isolation of oxytocin from the cells starts when the baby suckles the breast. The baby stimulates the nerve endings of the nipple, resulting in the production of the hormone in the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland, which passes into the breast cavity through the blood. Accumulating when sucking, oxytocin provokes the release of milk precisely during feeding. So there is a "reflex oxytocin".The hormone does not stimulate the release of milk, if:

  • feeling pain, the mother does not give the baby a crumb;
  • the parent is in frustrated feelings or severely offended;
  • feels anxious and anxious;
  • is in doubt.
Young women in labor should remember that sufficient breast filling is directly related to their emotional state, as it passes under the control and with the participation of hormones. Obviously, the processes are in close interconnection. If you are worried, straining because of any complicated family situation, experiencing fear, then milk will not come normally.
Stress in pregnant women If the last trimester of pregnancy the expectant mother was worried and worried a lot, lactation problems may occur

How is milk production going?

Milk formation occurs when milk reaches a mature "age".If you give birth for the first time, then the transition from early and late to mature milk lasts from 1 to 3 months, in women in labor with experience, this process takes 3 weeks-1.5 months. The signs of maturity of milk are:

  • soft to the touch of the chest;
  • lacks the feeling of filling the breast before feeding;
  • painful tides stop;
  • Milk production begins immediately at the time of feeding.

The difference between preparing to start and actually milking is that milk does not come from an increase in the number of hormones oxytocin and prolactin, but as a reaction to sucking a child. The volume of the nutrient fluid depends on the degree of emptying the breast. The principle of "empty vessel" comes into force: feeding, empty breast, milk production. The main thing is to follow the rules of frequent feeding both day and night.

Breast-feeding After the establishment of mature lactation, milk begins to arrive immediately before feeding

Why do lactation crises occur?

The lactation crisis is a few short-term( 2-7 days) stretches in a child's life, when he, without any cause worrying and irritating, requires constant attachment to the chest. The timing of their occurrence is individual and falls at the age of 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 and 6 months. The causes of lactation crises are:

  • Activation of growth. The child starts to grow, as they say, by leaps and bounds, he does not have enough nutrition, so he grabs his chest to make up for his needs and adjust the filling of the breasts to his growing appetite.
  • The reaction of the mother to the full moon. The period when some of the mothers reduce milk production, while in others it increases.

How to properly assess the situation?

Test wet diapers. If you gain more than 12 pieces( girls have more than 10), the baby adds about 113 grams( minimum WHO standard) per week, so you have enough milk. However, you may get the impression that you are feeding your child all the time. A crumb, barely having time to empty one breast, grabs the other. Note that this behavior of the baby is included in the concept of the norm and does not serve as an indicator of the lactation crisis. Increased desire to eat can be caused by improper care or stressful for the baby situation.

Test for wet diapers The test for wet diapers( or the amount of urination in the diaper) can reveal if the milk is enough for the child

. When the lactation crisis increases, the baby's concern is caused by the lack of the necessary milk volume that can supply all of his nutritional needs. To blame for this only a lactation crisis would be a mistake. The kid can be capricious and because of the bad weather, because of sudden changes in atmospheric pressure. Affects the psycho-emotional background of the child and the full moon, and too noisy water procedures, and long walks, and the presence of strangers.

How to behave during this period?

It's possible that you will not encounter a crisis or it will pass for you unnoticed. Initially, it is not worth adjusting to such a problem, the more it is wrong to expect its occurrence. Remember the main principle of milk production - demand creates supply. This means that the larger the volume the baby sucks, the faster it is replenished. The child on an instinctive level "hangs" on the chest in advance to secure the right amount. Mom should not rush to feed his treasure with mixtures. It is wrong and do not give the baby a breast at his request. Try not to worry, wait a bit, and you will see that within 3-7 days of milk will begin to be produced as much as necessary for a small gourmet.

Lactation crisis You should not worry about the lack of milk during the lactation crisis - the more often you put the baby to your chest, the more milk will appear

What is the involution of lactation?

The involution of lactation is its complete completion. Its first signs appear in 2-3 years. You can not confuse the natural involution with the forced withdrawal of the baby from the breast. The correct course of lactation involution occurs at the natural level, when the parent's body physiologically stops milk production. The artificial cessation of the lactation period does not apply to the concept of involution. What is the involution of lactation and how does it go?

How does it affect the mammary glands?

Cardinal changes begin with the regression of the processes that occurred during the entire period of feeding. The natural closure of the outflowing ducts on the nipples begins, the glandular tissues are replaced with fatty ones, the breast assumes the same shape and condition as before pregnancy. Completely incapable of feeding the breast becomes on the 40th day, if you count from the last feeding. It is worth noting that the time duration of lactation involution is a single term for all women and does not depend on how long you have had the lactation period.

Breast Changes In preparation for lactation and during it, the breast undergoes changes

Signs of involution

Discomfort with breastfeeding, an acute desire to stop it does not mean that it's time for a natural involution of lactation. To determine the exact beginning of the involution of breastfeeding, there are certain signs. Breastfeeding parents are useful to know them, so we will dwell on them in more detail. Carefully read each feature so that you do not get scared and do not waste yourself in vain hopes.

Age of the child

Having fed the baby with breastfedness for up to a year, the mother begins to think about transferring it completely to normal nutrition. The desire appears for various reasons: it is the course of treatment, going to work, advice from relatives and friends. The justifications that have been found are pushing to the false idea that the completion is a natural process. By giving out what you want for reality, you forget about the exact time frame for involution - the age of the child is 2-4 years.

Early completion of the formation of nutrient fluid in the breast is carried out against a background of a new pregnancy or with hormonal disorders( primary hypogalactia).With primary hypothyroidism, the formation of milk decreases significantly, creating the appearance that the lactation involution has come. If this happens at the age of 1-1,5 years, to say that you have an involution is to deceive yourself.

Child 2 years old Most often, from the age of two the child switches to "adult" food by parental decision

Increased sucking activity of

When the lactation period is nearing completion, the amount of milk decreases and the baby does not gorge. The baby increasingly asks for a breast, diligently sucks it, moves on to another, does not let go for a long time. A crumb can suck even an empty breast, waiting for the milk to be extracted. The period of such activity is stretched for several months and depends on how long the whole lactation period lasts and how often the baby is put to the chest.

Mom's fatigue

Psychoemotional and physiological fatigue comes from the fact that breastfeeding can last up to 2-4 years. The intense mode of life, the continuous work of the body to produce milk provokes dizziness and weakness, which are felt after feeding. Approaching the final stage causes pain in the mammary gland, pain and nipples, there is a general discomfort. The feeding time begins to irritate, there is a desire to stop it. The general condition during this period can be compared with the initial terms of pregnancy, when fatigue, irritability, drowsiness is piled up. Possible violations of the menstrual cycle.

Fatigue from lactation At some point the mother stops enjoying the feeding process and wants to completely stop it

The psychological fatigue of both participants in the

process. No matter how long breastfeeding lasts, a time comes when both of its participants, mom and child, are tired and psychologically ready for that, To abandon it. We must not forget that breastfeeding itself plays an important role in the development of the baby, not only as a food, but also as a great psychological aid. Pleasant minutes of close contact have a beneficial effect on the psychoemotional state of the parent and her little treasure. If the baby is difficult to quit sharply, he does not sleep well, he is capricious, without sucking milk, it is obvious that the moment for refusal has not yet come. So it turns out that both decisions - for and against breastfeeding, are given with difficulty.

What changes occur in the mammary glands?

If the breastfeeding completion is natural, the chest becomes soft, there is no pain even when the last feeding was 12 hours ago. Given such positive changes, it becomes clear that the nature-triggered mechanism ends absolutely safely for women's health. The physiology of the breast is ideally prepared for motherhood.

Some mothers, unfortunately, lack patience and they resort to independent and very doubtful methods of stopping the lactation period: bandage the breasts, limit the consumption of liquid, stop decanting. Convinced by the words of alleged connoisseurs of the female body, they commit great stupidity. Time passes, and the result of such manipulations is the stagnation of milk, the formation of mastitis, the manifestation of lactostasis. The ailments require serious medical measures, causing the mother psychological and physiological discomfort.

Nature gave us the opportunity of breastfeeding, so that the tiny little man would develop correctly and quickly, gain strength for future achievements. Try to prolong this wonderful time, bringing so many positive emotions to you and the child. Early weaning of the baby from the chest harms your health and negatively affects the child, who is not receiving much valuable and useful for his body.


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