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The science behind breastfeeding–how it works?

Expert’s answer:

As your baby grows and develops in your womb, your body is preparing to become a mother.

From very early in the first trimester your breasts are going through changes on the inside. With the help from some amazing breast stem cells and your pregnancy hormones, normal breast tissue will change to milk producing cells. Some women experience this as breast tingling or tenderness in the first few week of pregnancy.

From around 20-25 week your breasts will be producing colostrum (the first milk). This colostrum is called liquid gold by midwive’s and doctors because of its gold colour and its amazing qualities. The colostrum contains incredibly high levels of infection fighting cells which help to protect your newborn during the first weeks and months. Colostrum and breastmilk has been proven to be lifesaving for premature babies.

The birth of your baby triggers the release of milk producing hormones. Skin-to-skin contact (where baby placed on your chest straight after birth) and your baby suckling at the breast send signals to the brain that milk is needed. Your body will then start to produce milk for your baby on demand.

From the first day you will produce colostrum for you baby, then your mature milk will come in around day 3-4. Mature milk is whiter in colour and thinner than colostrums.

Often your breasts can feels very full when the mature milk comes in first. Feeding your baby on demand in the early days will ensure you have all the milk your baby needs and helps to prevent the breasts from feeling very full.

Because your breastmilk is unique and is produced to meet demand you produce enough milk to feed your baby. If you have twins or more, your body will adapt and make enough milk to feed them.

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