Lactation is the process by which the mammary glands in a woman’s breasts produce and secrete milk to nourish an infant. It is a natural and remarkable process that occurs after childbirth. Let’s explore the stages and mechanisms involved in the process of lactation Dubai.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy:
Lactation begins during pregnancy when hormonal changes prepare the breasts for milk production. The hormone prolactin stimulates the development and growth of the milk-producing cells in the mammary glands. Estrogen and progesterone also play a role in preparing the breasts for lactation.
Shortly before birth, the breasts start producing colostrum, a yellowish, nutrient-rich fluid that acts as the first milk. Colostrum is high in protein, antibodies, and other essential nutrients that provide immunity and nourishment to the newborn. It acts as a natural laxative, helping the infant pass meconium (the first stool) and aiding in the clearing of the digestive system.
Milk “coming in”:
Within a few days after delivery, a process known as “milk coming in” occurs. This is when the breasts transition from producing colostrum to mature milk. The increased levels of prolactin stimulate the mammary glands to produce larger quantities of milk. As a result, the breasts may feel fuller, heavier, and sometimes become engorged. This is a normal part of the lactation process, and the body adjusts over time to regulate milk production according to the baby’s needs.
Milk ejection reflex (Let-Down Reflex):
When a baby latches onto the breast and begins suckling, it triggers the milk ejection reflex, also known as the let-down reflex. This reflex involves the release of the hormone oxytocin, which causes the muscles surrounding the milk-producing cells to contract.
Supply and demand mechanism:
Lactation operates on a supply and demand mechanism. The more frequently a baby feeds at the breast, the more milk is produced to meet the demand. As the baby continues to nurse, the breasts receive signals to produce more milk, ensuring a steady supply.
Composition of breast milk:
Breast milk is a dynamic fluid that changes in composition to meet the nutritional and developmental needs of the growing infant. It contains an ideal balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and antibodies. The composition of breast milk can vary throughout the day and over time, adapting to the specific requirements of the baby at different stages of growth and development.