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.
*Oxytocin is the hormone that tells your body to RELEASE the milk that has been produced
*My favorite tip: your baby's hands touching your breast while they nurse helps release oxytocin. Take off those gloves!!! (And leave them off - bare hands help your baby's development.)
*Foremilk and Hindmilk are irrelevant concepts. These terms simply refer to the milk your baby receives at the beginning and the end of the feed. They do not mean anything about nutrition or fat level of the milk.
Truth- faster feeds do tend to release more fat than slower feeds
*Mothers with flat or inverted nipples CAN breastfeed. The important factor is what the nipples do while baby is feeding (most nipples will evert with stimulation), not what they look like at rest.
Mothers with nipples that NEVER evert should have a thorough assessment with a lactation specialist, but this is very rare.
Did You Know?
*Immediate and continuous skin to skin after birth and suckling within the first hour is one of the most powerful steps in long term breastfeeding success.
*There should be 4 or more poopy diapers on the fourth day of life, with an average of 5 poopy diapers per day in the first 3 weeks of life (less than 4 poopy diapers on day 4 is a sign of inadequate intake)
*Adding mother's own milk to donor milk may transfer the mother's microbes to the donor milk!
*85% of women experience mood changes after giving birth. It's nothing to be ashamed of - talk to the people in your life or get a counselor!
*A hand on the back of baby's head while he breastfeeds HINDERS his ability to latch properly and contributes to sore nipples. Place your hand on baby's back.
*Calcium in breastmilk comes from mother's bones, but it is gained back after weaning, often in greater amounts than before breastfeeding.
*Alcohol may decrease oxytocin - AKA you are still producing milk, but you're not releasing as much milk. This may be why women think drinking alcohol increases milk production, because their breasts feel fuller!