All female mammals have mammary glands to feed their young during the first period of their lives, also women, who have two located on both sides of the thorax to the right and left of the sternum at the level of the third to the seventh rib .
The inside of the breast
The inside of the breast is made up of 15 to 20 segments called lobules. Each of them is made up of 10-100 alveoli, which is the place where milk is made, surrounded by a muscular layer that can contract to favor the expulsion of milk. These alveoli are grouped in the form of a cluster and end up in ducts that run through the gland to empty into the nipple.
What happens in pregnancy
During pregnancy, the mammary gland undergoes changes that prepare it for its function: the production of milk. After childbirth and due to the action of a series of hormones, including prolactin, the secretion of milk inside the alveoli begins., as a trigger, but the maintenance of lactation is basically due to the mechanical stimulation of the newborn’s sucking. This is very important and the basis of good breastfeeding, hence the wet nurses, a popular character in other times who dedicated themselves “professionally” to breastfeeding children from other families who, for whatever reason, could not feed them, until extent that women who have not given birth can achieve breastfeeding. This is not a new issue because it is described in primitive cultures in the event of the death of the mother when another relative took care of the baby and it can currently be put into practice by mothers who adopt or by couples of women in which the mother who does not has gestated is interested in breastfeeding the newborn.
How to stimulate lactation?
According to this, the basis for good breastfeeding is to stimulate , stimulate and stimulate. The infant is the most important part and, failing that, it will be the breast pumps or mechanical stimulation.
To contribute to a good production of milk, it is necessary to ingest sufficient amounts of liquids , so drinking little can cause having little milk, although if you drink enough, drinking more will not increase the volume. By having milk apart from water, a large quantity of proteins, fats, sugars and minerals, it was classically advised to take an abundant supply of dairy products, as it is a raw material with a similar composition to the one we are going to manufacture, but any liquid would be suitable with a good feeding.
Benefits of breast milk
In addition to feeding the baby, just as formula would do, breast milk has unique qualities as it contains enzymes that have been specially designed to digest human milk and which are lacking in cow’s milk, from which milk originates. of formula. And, what is more important, it contains maternal immunoglobulins, those antibodies that protect us from infections that the mother has had, which while breastfeeding will also protect the infant.
In addition, breast milk adapts to the baby’s age, changes its composition depending on the days of the newborn, being called colostrum the first days and progressively becoming mature milk while increasing in volume to adapt to the needs of a child. or girl growing older.
Alternatives to breast milk
When breastfeeding is not possible or insufficient, there are formulas adapted to each stage of the infant that will allow it to develop normally and there is no need to fanaticize about it.
In popular culture, different substances are named as stimulants of milk production, but there are none that have proven effects without their side effects, so they are not recommended.
The best advice for good breastfeeding is a good diet with sufficient supply of nutrients that we can convert into milk, a good supply of liquids and, above all, a good breastfeeding technique with adequate stimulation both in quantity and quality, that is, that the newborn baby sucks on the areola and nipple in the right way and often enough. In the vast majority of cases, the concept “to want is to be able” is adapted to breastfeeding, with good confidence and good advice.
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