Breast milk is the best and safest way of the providing ideal food for the healthy developments of infants.
Knowing well how an object is formed helps you to understand well its usage. How Breast milk is produced is important to health professionals, women and husbands. Breast milk is produced as a result of the action of hormones and reflexes.
1. Hormonal action in breast milk production:
There are two main hormones which help to produce breast milk. They are known as prolactin and oxytocin. These two important hormones prolactin and oxytocin are secreted by a gland in the brain called the pituitary gland. During pregnancy, hormones prepare the gland tissue of the breast to produce milk.
Prolactin enables the breast to make milk and hence is called the secreting hormone. Prolactin also suppresses the activities of the ovaries thereby delaying the return of fertility and menstruation. This is the reason why exclusive breast feeding prevents pregnancy. More breast milk is produced by hormones during the night than the day so you must educate your client to breast feed at night to keep up a good supply of milk.
Oxytocin is also known as the milk-ejection hormone because it helps the milk to flow. Oxytocin makes the muscle cells around the milk- making glands of the breast to contract. The contraction increases the pressure of the milk inside the breast tissue. This pressure enables milk to be ejected or flow. The flow of milk is increased as the baby suckles the breast.
Oxytocin also contracts the womb to expel the placenta after delivery and also controls bleeding after placenta have been removed. A woman who has just delivered may feel this contraction as severe lower abdominal pain when she breast feeds her baby immediately after delivery. Reassure such a woman that it is normal and that it will last for a short period of time.
2. Mechanism of reflexes in producing breast milk:
Reflexes are the involuntary reaction to stimuli. For example when you step on a thorn or a sharp object you quickly remove your foot from the thorn or the sharp object before you become aware of what you have done. In this instance the thorn or the sharp object becomes a stimulus and the quick removal of your foot becomes a reflex action. Breast milk production is also a reflex action and as we provide a stimulus, breast milk production will continue. There are two main reflexes which help in breast milk production. These are milk secreting or prolactin reflex and oxytocin or milk ejection reflex.
As mention earlier, prolactin is a hormone produced by the anterior pituitary gland which is located in the brain. It causes tissue in the breast to secret milk. The nipple has nerve endings so anytime the baby suckles the breast it stimulates the nerve endings in the nipple. These nerves carry messages to the anterior part of the pituitary gland, which makes prolactin. This process of stimulation of the nipple to the secretion of the milk is called the milk secreting reflex or prolactin reflex. This reflex works better when the baby suckles.
The second reflex which helps in the flow of milk from the nipple is known as the oxytocin or the milk ejection reflex. To eject means to ‘throw out’ so milk ejection reflex is an action that enables milk to be released from the breast. Oxytocin is a hormone which is produced by the posterior pituitary gland in the brain. Its main function is to enable the muscle cells around the breast to contract. These contractions increase pressure on the milk production.
Other factors which help with the production of breast milk is suckling and regular removal of milk. It is very important for you to understand the effect of suckling on milk production. If the baby suckles more, the breast makes more milk.
A mother’s thoughts, feelings and emotions affect the secretion and release of milk from the breast. If she thinks lovingly of her baby, or she hears the baby crying her pituitary may produce hormones, she may then feel the pressure in her breast and some milk may flow out. However, certain emotional disturbances can hinder the mother’s production of milk.
If she is worried or afraid for some reason.
If she is in pain-especially if the breast feeding is painful.
If she is embarrassed.
The above it can be realized that if a mother has good feelings and also is confident that she can breast feed, her milk flows well. This implies that a peaceful marriage leads to healthy baby development as result of a good breast milk production for the baby’s nutrition. All husbands must know that the more they worry their wives the less they produce breast milk to feed their babies. Women need a peaceful homes and families to make breast milk for their babies. Breast milk, a food for our babies is the responsibility of all.