Happy World Breastfeeding Week!
This week I took the 45 hour Healthy Children Project's Lactation Counselor Training. I would love to share some of my favorite tidbits!
Prolactin is the hormone that induces milk production.
T4 nerve stimulation is the major player in starting the prolactin production cascade.
The T4 nerve endings are found in the nipple and areola.
So! This leads to some very important facts about breastfeeding.
*Some women are not great pump producers.
MANY of these women are not using their pumps properly, usually something to do with flange size. (Lactation specialists can help you fit your flanges and use your pump properly!)
BUT, if the majority of your T4 nerve endings are in your nipple and less in your areola, the pump simply may not be sufficiently stimulating your prolactin cascade! MIND BLOWN! Hand expression will likely be much more effective for you. Or at the very least when you're pumping, don't forget that nipple stimulation is a VERY important part of milk production.
*The more nipple stimulation (aka a properly latched baby), the more prolactin production. - AKA more nursing results in more milk production
*Longer periods of time between prolactin production results in lower baseline prolactin levels. - AKA weaning
So when you only feed your baby every few hours (instead of on demand) your body starts to wonder if you are trying to wean.