When Does Your Body Start Producing Breast Milk?
Breastfeeding is an amazing, natural occurrence that women have been practicing since the beginning of time as a way to feed their babies. A woman’s breasts have milk glands in them which are activated by pregnancy and begin the process of producing breast milk almost as soon as a woman gets pregnant.
One of the early signs of pregnancy is sore, painful breasts. For many women they will notice a dramatic increase in the size of their breasts early in the first trimester. The milk glands are a cluster of cells high up in your breast. When you have your baby and deliver the placenta, the estrogen and progesterone levels in your body decrease and the hormone prolactin will rise signaling these glands to produce and to send milk down to milk ducts.
However, some people report leakage from the areola prior to delivery of their baby. This yellowish leakage is called colostrum and can begin as early as the second trimester for some women, and not till after delivery for others. The colostrum is the first food your baby will get and the most important as it is full of antibodies to help protect and strengthen your baby’s immune system.
So when does your body actually start producing milk? It just depends on how you look at it. What do you consider the first step in production? If it is when the glands are triggered to start their job it is early in the first trimester. If it is when you first notice colostrum then it would occur at whatever point your body started leaking it, possibly in the second trimester, often not till birth. If it is when the white milk starts to flow then it happens within your baby’s first 72 hours of life. Have no fear though. Breasts were made for the sole purpose of feeding our children and in most cases will do their job and the milk will come when it is needed the most.
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