Re: Let down reflex and other info
There are no dumb questions!
Let down, or milk ejection reflex, occurs when the baby's suckling (or some other stimulus, like the baby's cry, feelings of tenderness, or- believe it or not- sexual arousal and orgasm) results in the release of the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the cells surrounding the alveoli (tiny sacs inside the breast in which milk is secreted and stored) to contract, forcing milk into the sinuses under the areola, where mechanical action from the baby's mouth removes it from the breast.
Less technical explanation:
Let down is what happens when a baby sucks properly on the breast, causing a rapid release of milk. This may feel like a tingling or pins and needles sensation, or may feel like nothing at all. Many women do not experience a letdown sensation. Those who do not can often learn to identify letdown by watching their babies: when the baby's suckling pattern changes from "suck-suck-suck" to a rapid "suck-swallow-breathe, suck-swallow-breathe", punctuated by lots of gulping, the mom knows she is having a letdown.
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