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It saddens me that as women we know so little about the physiology of our body. I am a Lactation Educator, Maternal Health Educator and volunteer in an organization that offers support to moms who want to breastfeed their babies and after everything I have learned in the last almost 5 years I believe that we should all be taught in primary school , secondary and prepares how our body works, it would serve us much more than knowing algebra, for example.
What I am going to is that it is almost impossible not to have milk. Physiologically, 98% of women have enough milk to exclusively breastfeed their children, if someone is in the remaining 2% they should run to buy a lottery ticket, since they are part of a very, very population group. select.
Our breasts begin to prepare to breastfeed our children from our first menstruation and menstruation after menstruation (and not to mention during pregnancy) the ducts, alveoli and all the "hardware" with which we come prepared to breastfeed continue to develop. our children, hormones (estrogen, progesterone) play a key role in this whole process.
A fact that may come as a surprise but is no less true is that our body begins to produce milk (colostrum) between week 10 and 14 of gestation. Progesterone inhibits milk leakage during pregnancy. After giving birth to the baby the placenta comes out and with this the progesterone drops (and the prolactin rises) giving the signal to the body that now if it is time for the milk (colostrum) to begin to come out of the breasts, these first days (VERY limited window of time) the process is completely hormonal, there is nothing you can do about it, your body will produce colostrum YES or YES.
I think that part of the problem comes from the wrong perception that we have of those first days of colostrum production, we believe that we are going to produce industrial quantities of breast milk and this is not the case, these first hours the body produces just what the baby needs to his first days in the world, he drinks breast per feed more or less the equivalent in volume to a 5 peso coin (remember that the baby's stomach is the size of his fist). No more is needed. Probably if you squeeze your chest, the only thing that will come out is a few drops and that is fine, it is normal.
Now here comes the criticism and this is where many lactations are lost, around the eighth to the tenth day this milk production system that used to be 100% hormonal (you have colostrum yes or yes) changes to an auto crino (local) system in where EMPTYING the breast is the MAIN control mechanism for milk supply, the emptier the breast, the more milk is produced (Example: what do we have to do if we want to fill a bucket? Well, first make sure that the bucket is empty , Right? The same thing happens with the breast), then it is necessary, indispensable rather than all those first days in which the process was 100% hormonal (you have colostrum if or if) the baby has spent a lot of time in the breast ( to free demand), that all suction has been in the breast (no pacifiers, bottles or breast milk substitutes) since those days are basic to establish the production of breast milk according to the baby's needs (those first days is when they are also created also the prolactin receptors (with the constant suction of the baby to the breast), a factor also essential for a good milk production)
So what happens when those first days are not allowed free demand? When are hickeys given? When are substitutes given because "we don't have enough"? that in effect, as soon as the milk production system moves from 100% hormonal (you have colostrum yes or yes) to auto crino (emptying of the breast) eventually "we will run out of milk" but due to poor management of breastfeeding , just for that.
Now, every process is reversible, you can always relate to a baby with 100% breast milk but it requires work, perseverance and a lot of faith.
In short, in summary, the message I want you to take away from this is that the first days after giving birth, 98% of women DO have enough milk (colostrum) and there is no need to supplement with anything else.
Lactation and parenting