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How the breast works

  1. #1
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Hong Kong

    How the breast works

    The key to establishing a healthy milk supply in the weeks after birth is to drain the breasts well and often, either with a nursing baby or an effective means of milk expression. Eight to twelve times a day is a good goal during this time.

    A mother who is pumping for her baby should schedule eight to twelve pumpings until she is getting at least, 25-30 ozs, (750-900 mls) per day.

    Draining the breasts makes milk more quickly. Although the hormones of childbirth play a role at the beginning of milk production, after the first few days control of the milk supply is mostly determined by milk removal. The more fully the breast is drained the more quickly milk is made to replace the milk removed.

    Full breasts cause a slowdown in milk production. The opposite is also true. The fuller the breasts become and stay, the more milk production slows down. Mother who pump their milk for their babies sometimes mistakenly cut back too far on their number of pumpings, because even with fewer pumpings at first they get the same amount of milk per day. However, as time goes on their breasts stay full for longer stretches, milk production tends to go down.

    The let-down is essential to breastfeeding. When your baby sucks at the breast, the hormone oxytocin is released. Oxytocin causes the muscles around the milk-producing glands to contract, which squeezes the milk down the milk ducts to the nipple where the baby gets it. Some mothers feel this as a tingling other feel nothing, even though the let-down is work just fine. Most women have several let-downs during every feeding.

    Getting the let down to occur, especially occur repeatedly is one of the problem when a mother doesn’t get much milk from pumping, even though she actually has the milk .

    The greatest affect on baby feeding patterns has been found to be the mothers’ individual differences in breast storage capacity. Babies whose mothers can store more milk may take longer feedings and breastfeed fewer times per day. Babies whose mothers have a smaller breast storage capacity get plenty of milk but need to feed more times per day to stay happy and keep up their mother’s milk supply. Do not compare what your baby is doing to the next baby, or how much you can pump to the next mother. It is not important how much milk the baby takes in one feed but how much the baby gets over the whole day. For example a baby getting 4 ozs at each feed will only need seven feeds a day, whereas a baby drinking 2.5 ozs a feed will need eleven feeds a day – in both cases the breastfeeding is working

  2. #2
    joannek is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Hong Kong

    i totally agree that the amt one actually has/baby can get from direct nursing/mother get from pumping is not the same. i used to be able to pump only 2 oz (i can never get a let down with pumping), but baby would be nursing very well & gaining very good weight.

    i personally prefer to be nursing directly if time permit. it is so much more satisfying & enjoyable than pumping. if i would pump more than twice/day, i felt like a cow producing milk. if i nurse, it felt so close with my baby & feel so loving. i wouldn't have survived my breastfeeding relationship if i could only pump.

    but i'm one of the lucky ones who is a stay home mom.

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