Babies, Breastfeeding, and Bonding Chapters 1-8

In the book Babies, Breastfeeding, and Bonding by Ina May Gaskin (1987) writes about many interesting things related to breastfeeding. I will write out some interesting facts or information that I thought was important to remember. 

  • Prolactin ( the Latin word meaning “for  milk-production”) is the hormone that the placenta makes that causes growth of the milk producing sacs and causes milk to secrete.

It seems as though when the placenta is delivered this hormone is no longer being passed through the placenta to the mother, so what happens? How does the body learn to create this hormone without the placenta?

  • Some mothers find it easier to get their let-down reflex working if they are completely alone with their babies during the first few weeks. Worry and emotional distraction will tend to obstruct the functioning of the let-down reflex.

How to cause let-down:

  1. Nurse privately, regularly, and often (no less than 8-12 times per day)
  2. Make yourself comfortable before putting the baby on the breast
  3. Try getting your let-down reflex going in a warm shower once or twice a day
  4. Apply warm, moist towels to your breasts before nursing. Massaging your breasts while you nurse to encourage milk flow.
  5. Make sure that you have the baby latched on correctly. (Very Important!)
  6. Try the other breast if you don’t hear swallowing after three of four minutes of sucking. Breathe deeply and slowly while your baby sucks

How to know if you milk is letting down

  1. Your baby gulps
  2. Uterine cramping while nursing
  3. Tingling of the breasts while nursing
  4. Dripping or spraying
  5. Increased vaginal flow while nursing
  6. Lots of wet diapers everyday
  7. Softer breasts after nursing

It is interesting that some babies are born hungry while others are born satisfied and have no interest in eating for the first few days. I wonder if this is due to the mothers nutrition while pregnant. It seems like the more healthy and fulfilled the fetus is while in the womb there is less of an urgency for food at birth. This is just an assumption but it makes sense to me.

© Drew Starr, 2011 

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