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How To Encourage Your Milk to Come In

How To Encourage Your Milk to Come In

Ever wondered why people tell you that skin to skin with your baby is so important?

Well, let me tell you a little bit about the magic of a baby being born. 

Following the birth of your baby your brain receives messaging that a baby has arrived (interestingly thanks to the birth of your placenta, not baby) and a wonderful hormone called prolatin begins to upregulate. As you would expect from its name, prolactin is responsible for the initiation of lactation or production of your milk supply. 

Another hormone which is critical for breastfeeding is oxytocin. 'The Love Hormone'. Oxytocin is responsible for the milk ejection or removal of the milk from your breast into your bubba's mouth. 

Questions we get asked a lot are 'Why does it take so long for my milk to come in? and Can I do something to get it moving along?'

Prolactin and Oxytocin are both hormones. Hormones are large protein molecules which take minutes to hours for the body to produce. It involves, messaging through several feedback loops, DNA, RNA and protein production, then they must travel through the bloodstream to their target. This is in converse to nerve signalling which is electrochemical and can happen in nanoseconds. 

This brings me to the second part of the question... "Can you do anything to move things along and encourage your milk to come in". In short. YES. 

When your baby is skin to skin, your body is receiving messaging from your sensory environment that your baby has arrived and your body needs to build a milk supply. It does this by taking in the entire sensory environment: physical contact of skin to skin, temperature, sound and smell of your baby.

In addition, the act of your baby suckling at your breast is the critical act which messages to the brain to produce milk (hello, prolactin).

Your body then begins a beautiful positive feedback loop of:

Baby suckles —> message to brain —> brain up regulates prolactin —> milk production initiated —> I see/feel/hear my baby —> Gosh I'm in love —> oxytocin —> milk ejection —> baby suckles

And so on, and so forth.

This is why it’s so important for you to have skin to skin with your baby, equally to have bubba at the breast frequently to begin and maintain this cycle in the early hours/days.

For some mamas like myself, it was especially important after a c-section as some drugs delay the production of prolactin, which is also true for mamas with premmie bubbas or those with pre-existing thyroid conditions.

If you would like to hear more about this, I recorded an interview with Joellen Winduss Paye (IBCLC) discussing the biochemistry and the delay of the feedback loop if you fall into the ‘top up trap’.

I hope this has given you a better understanding of the importance of skin to skin and the magical at work in our sensory environment. Our bodies are truly wonderful!

P.S. If you are looking to support your milk supply and energy levels, we’ve got you covered. FYC Choc + Goji Lactation Cookies are the Perfect 3AM snack and have been nourishing mothers since 2020. Free Shipping on your first order with code: FYCMAMA

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