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Thread: Let down reflex and other info

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Default Let down reflex and other info

    I'm a FTM and have been exclusively BFing my 2 mo old DD. This may seem like a dumb question, but I still really don't know much about the let down reflex and milk supply. Fortunately BFing has not been a problem, but I still want to know all that I can. Any good information that gives the 411 on what the let down reflex is, how it works, and info about milk supply?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Let down reflex and other info

    There are no dumb questions!

    Technical explanation:
    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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