How Your Body Makes Milk for Your Baby

Woman breastfeeding her baby
Your breasts give you the earliest clues that you are pregnant. When you become pregnant, they become swollen, and tender, and the skin on your nipples and areolas becomes darker. Within the first trimester, you will continue to experience physical changes in your breasts-such as the bumps(Montgomery glands) surrounding your areolas increasing in size. Milk–producing cells (alveoli) and ducts in the mammary glands will also multiply in preparation for the distribution of milk.

Usually, by your fourth to the sixth month of pregnancy, hormones will be released which tell your mammary glands to begin producing milk. The alveoli draw fats, proteins, and sugars from your blood to make breast milk. At this point in pregnancy, it is not unusual for your body to begin leaking milk. This form of milk is called colostrum and maybe yellow or orange in color and sticky.
After the birth of your baby, the body increases levels of the hormone prolactin. This hormone releases signals to produce more milk. It is also known as the hormone that makes mothers feel maternal.

You can attempt to feed your baby soon after delivery; however, some mothers are not fully capable of feeding their newborns within 24 to 48 hours after delivery. Your “first milk” will be colostrum, which will have a creamy appearance. Colostrum is specially created for newborns; it is high in protein, low in fat and sugar, and is easy to digest. It also helps your baby to make the first bowel movement and provides antibodies that strengthen the immune system.

As you can see, your body is designed to make the nutrients most essential to your baby’s health. Breastfeeding will provide many benefits for your bundle of joy and it will also provide you with countless health, emotional, and financial benefits.


Breastfeeding is a beautiful journey that helps mothers nourish their babies and give them the best start in life. As we commemorate World Breastfeeding Week, observed annually from August 1–7, it is essential to highlight the numerous benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby. This year's theme, "Let’s make breastfeeding and work, work!", underscores the importance of supporting working mothers in their breastfeeding journey. Let us talk about the incredible benefits of breastfeeding and how it helps with postpartum mental health.

The Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mother and Baby

Perfect Nutrition for Babies

Breast milk provides infants with the optimal balance of nutrients, proteins, fats, and antibodies for optimal growth and development. It contains essential vitamins and minerals that support the baby's immune system, helping to protect against infections and illnesses.

Promotes Bonding and Emotional Well-Being

Breastfeeding creates a unique bond between mother and baby. The physical closeness and skin-to-skin contact during nursing stimulate a deep emotional connection, promoting feelings of love, security, and comfort.

Long-Term Health Benefits for Mother and Child

Research indicates that breastfeeding may reduce the risk of chronic health conditions in both mother and baby. For infants, it is associated with a decreased risk of obesity, asthma, allergies, and certain infections. Mothers who breastfeed for over one year are shown to have a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

Better Postpartum Health

Breastfeeding plays a vital role in postpartum mental health, positively impacting a mother's emotional well-being and reducing the risk of postpartum depression. The act of nursing releases hormones like oxytocin, often called the "love hormone," promoting feelings of relaxation and happiness. It also aids in postpartum recovery by helping the uterus contract and reducing the risk of postpartum haemorrhage. Additionally, breastfeeding can aid in weight loss after childbirth.

Empowering Working Mothers: Balancing Breastfeeding and Professional Life

Balancing breastfeeding with a professional career can be challenging for working mothers. However, with the right support and understanding from employers, this journey becomes more manageable. Employers can provide lactation rooms, flexible work hours, and support for pumping breaks to empower working mothers to continue breastfeeding.

When companies create a breastfeeding-friendly environment, they not only promote employee well-being but also foster loyalty and productivity. Supporting working mothers in their breastfeeding journey demonstrates a commitment to employee welfare and work-life balance.

Conclusion

In conclusion, breastfeeding offers unparalleled benefits for both mother and baby. As we commemorate World Breastfeeding Week, it's vital to recognize the significance of supporting working mothers in their breastfeeding journey. Let us celebrate the wonders of breastfeeding and encourage a supportive environment for breastfeeding mothers everywhere. Together, we can create a healthier and more nurturing world for our little ones.

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