Milk production is a natural process of the female body. In the process, milk is produced in the glandular tissue of the breast and released via the nipple. This process is also called lactation and usually runs without complications.

What is the milk production?

Milk production is a natural process of the female body. In the process, milk is produced in the glandular tissue of the breast and released via the nipple.

The glandular tissue of the female breast is designed to secrete breast milk as needed for infant nutrition. Already in the course of pregnancy, the mammary glands change and enlarge under the influence of the pregnancy hormones.

As a rule, lactation begins shortly after the birth of the child. By sucking the newborn on the nipple, the lactation is stimulated and the milk is released. If there are no illnesses, milk production stops only when the child is weaned.

Function & Task

The natural food of an infant is breast milk. This is formed in the mammary glands in the breast of his mother. During pregnancy, the glandular tissue is prepared for milk production by the constant levels of the hormones estrogen and progestin.

Sometimes some premilitation already occurs in the last trimester of pregnancy. The actual lactation does not start until two to eight days after birth. It is triggered by the sudden drop in estrogen and gestagen levels. In addition, the pituitary gland produces the milk production hormone prolactin from this point on. The suckling of the child in turn stimulates the formation of oxytocin. This hormone is known as the binding hormone. It not only promotes the bond between mother and child, but also promotes the regression of the uterus.

The lactation is maintained as long as the child is breastfed. The duration is irrelevant. If there are no health restrictions, a child can be breastfed for several years. However, the amount and composition of breast milk varies with the age of the child. Immediately after birth, the mammary glands form a viscous prefilm.

This is also called colostrum. It contains less fat than the subsequent breast milk, but a lot of vitamins, trace elements and especially antibodies that are important for the immune system of the newborn.

The actual milk production starts with the milk injection, which can sometimes be quite painful. Frequent application of the child can further stimulate lactation. As a result, the amount of milk delivered can be adapted to the increased need for food even in phases of growth.

During weaning, the distances between the individual breastfeeding phases are increased accordingly. This automatically reduces milk production until it comes to a standstill after a few weeks or months.

Diseases & complaints

In general, milk production is a natural process of the maternal body, which is completely free of complications. Only the milk injection at the beginning of lactation can be very unpleasant and painful. However, these complaints can be alleviated with simple home remedies.

Most breastfeeding problems have no physical causes, but are based on false information. For example, many women think they have no or insufficient breast milk because lactation does not start immediately after birth. However, it is quite normal that the milk intake does not start until after one week.

In the further course of lactation, there are sometimes periods when milk production does not seem to be sufficient. However, it can easily be adapted to the growing needs of the child if it is put on more often. The right application technique has to be considered.

For all problems related to milk production, the midwife is the right person to contact. This also applies if pain occurs independently of the milk injection. Strong lactation can occasionally lead to a congestion. This manifests itself by touch sensitivity of the chest, tactile knots and a general malaise. Left untreated, a congestion can lead to breast infection. However, it is usually possible with simple means to dissolve a congestion. By heat, the milk flow can be stimulated, so that the mother's milk can be spread by hand. After applying the baby, it is recommended to cool the breast as this will reduce the development of milk.

If these measures do not help or the symptoms even worsen, a drug treatment is necessary. During this time should continue to be breastfed, so it does not come to an unwanted Abstillen.

In other diseases of mother and child is usually a continued to be possible. In this case, however, consultation should always be made with the attending physician. This is especially true when the mother has to take medication. Most of the substances consumed by a breastfeeding mother can also pass on to mother's milk. Therefore, it makes sense in some diseases to renounce breastfeeding, either completely or temporarily.

If, after the successful treatment of a disease, the infant is to be breastfed again, lactation must be maintained during breastfeeding. For this purpose, the breast milk can be pumped out. By pumping out milk production can be stimulated if the amount of milk is actually insufficient.

Although lactation is a body function that is closely related to the birth of a child, milk can sometimes escape from the nipples without pregnancy. In rare cases, this is possible even in men. This is usually an indication of the need for medical treatment.

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