How Your Body Makes Milk for Your Baby

Woman breastfeeding her baby

Your breasts give you the earliest clues that you are pregnant. When you become pregnant, they become swollen, tender and the skin on your nipples and areolas become darker. Within the first trimester, you will continue to experience physical changes in your breasts-such as the bumps(Montgomery glands) surrounding your areolas increasing in size. Milk –producing cells (alveoli) and ducts in the mammary glands will also multiply in preparation for the distribution of milk.

ALSO, READ Pumping Breast Milk: What You Should Know

Usually, by your fourth to the sixth month of pregnancy, hormones will be released which tell your mammary glands to begin producing milk. The alveoli draw fats, proteins, and sugars from your blood to make breast milk. At this point in pregnancy, it is not unusual for your body to begin leaking milk. This form of milk is called colostrum and maybe yellow or orange in color and sticky.
After the birth of your baby, the body increases levels of the hormone prolactin. This hormone releases signals to produce more milk. It is also known as the hormone that makes mothers feel maternal.

You can attempt to feed your baby soon after delivery; however, some mothers are not fully capable of feeding their newborns within 24 to 48 hours after delivery. Your “first milk” will be colostrum, which will have a creamy appearance. Colostrum is specially created for newborns; it is high in protein, low in fat and sugar, and is easy to digest. It also helps your baby to make the first bowel movement and provides antibodies that strengthen the immune system.

As you can see, your body is designed to make the nutrients most essential to your baby’s health. Breastfeeding will provide many benefits for your bundle of joy and it will also provide you with countless health, emotional and financial benefits.

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