Breast Anatomy and notes

Development of the breast can proceed through a number of lactation cycles (pregnancy, lactogenesis I, lactogenesis
II, and involution.

Lactogenesis 1:

  • occurs in the latter stage of pregnancy.
  • The breast produces thick yellow colostrum
  • at this stage high progesterone levels inhibit milk production
Lactogenesis 2:
  • at or soon after birth progesterone levels drop and prolactin levels remain high
  • This results in milk production
  • When the breast is stimulated, prolactin levels in the blood rise, peak in about 45 minutes, and return to the pre-breastfeeding state about three hours later.
  • The release of prolactin triggers the cells in the alveoli to make milk. Prolactin also transfers to the breast milk
Lactogenesis III:
  • Lactogenesis I and II are under hormonal endocrine control during pregnancy and for the first few days following birth
  • When milk production is established, it switches from endocrine to autocrine control (lactogenesis III)
  • During this stage, the more that milk is removed from the breasts, the more the breast will produce milk.
  • Draining the breasts more fully also increases the rate of milk production.
  • Milk supply is strongly influenced by how often the baby feeds and how well it is able to transfer milk from the breast.

Low supply can often be traced to:

  • not feeding or pumping often enough
  • inability of the infant to transfer milk effectively caused by, among other things:
    • jaw or mouth structure deficits
    • poor latching technique
  • rare maternal endocrine disorders
  • hypoplastic breast tissue
  • a metabolic or digestive inability in the infant, making it unable to digest the milk it receives
  • inadequate calorie intake or malnutrition of the mother
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