The How & Why of Induced Lactation
You understand why you have this strong need to lactate, you have stress in your daily routine reduced to a manageable level, and you have started keeping notes on your progress; the next step is to begin the physical process of inducing lactation or relactation. The physical techniques of inducing lactation are more effective when the how and why of induced lactation is understood, rather than trying follow ambiguous procedures. Because each woman's physiology is unique to herself, rather than describing these techniques in terms of "Steps A, B, C, etc.", we are going to examine how induced lactation works. By utilizing education rather than simple instruction, you will be able to conform the physical techniques of inducing lactation to your own unique physiology.
A word of precaution, when attempting to produce a desirable flow of milk through induced lactation, there are no short cuts or quick fixes; milk flow will come only through self-dedication and self-discipline! When a new mother breast feeds her newborn for the first time, her milk and mammary system have been developing over the last five months of pregnancy; just as a woman's milk supply takes time to develop during pregnancy, induced lactation and relactation also take time. Whether inducing lactation or relactating, there is no preset schedule of progress; the amount of time it takes to see results will depend on your self-dedication, self-confidence, the emotional atmosphere in which to live and your own unique physiology. Generally a woman who is relactating, after having recently breast fed, will see results sooner than a woman who has never been pregnant and is attempting to lactate for the first time. Be patient; be dedicated.
The theory and practice of induced lactation is to emulate, as closely as possible, the breast stimulation and nursing schedule of an infant; the female body responds to this simulated suckling and nursing schedule by producing breast milk. In some cases, newborns may suckle as often as each hour; however, usually in a few days, most infants will settle down to a nursing schedule of suckling every two or three hours. The optimal number of stimulation sessions to induce lactation is eight, 20 minute stimulation sessions per each 24 hour period; however, that being said, when inducing lactation, the quality of the stimulation session is more important than the quantity of sessions!
In a perfect world, a loving couple would be able to commit to an unrestricted schedule of stimulation sessions that would permit inducing lactation to be their primary focus. Unfortunately in the real world, few couples have that much free time in their daily schedule, and some women even lack an adequate nursing partner. Fortunately for most women, lactation can still be successfully induced, even when handicapped with limited time and the absence of an adequate nursing partner. There have been cases of women who have successfully induced lactation with as few as three stimulation sessions per day and no available nursing partner. To successfully induce lactation under less than ideal conditions, takes exceptional self-dedication, self-discipline and self-confidence. Also desirable milk flow may be somewhat limited in volume and take longer to achieve. Be patient; be dedicated.
Think stimulation; the mammary system must be stimulated into milk production, rather than massaged into production. The initial step to induce lactation is to physically stimulate, through massage, both the nipple and areola area, as well as the individual mammary glands themselves. Before your breasts will produce any kind of milk flow, elevated levels of two hormones, (Prolactin and Oxytocin), must be present in your bloodstream. Prolactin and Oxytocin are produced in and secreted from the Pituitary gland, which is located near the brain stem. While the nipples, areolas, and mammary glands require manual massage and physical stimulation, the Pituitary gland requires psychological stimulation. In this chapter we will examine how the mammary system synthesizes breast milk from body fluids, and ejects it from the nipple in response to physical stimulation. In the future chapters we will examine how the Pituitary gland produces and secretes Prolactin and Oxytocin in response to psychological stimulation.
When stimulated by hand and finger massage, nerve endings in the skin of the nipple and areola send messages, (in the form of electrical impulses, via the nervous system), to the Pituitary gland. In response to these electrical impulses, the Pituitary gland increases production of Prolactin and Oxytocin; however, before the Pituitary will secrete these hormones into the bloodstream, psychological stimulation must also be present. When proper psychological stimulation is applied, the balance of brain chemistry is slightly altered, allowing the Pituitary to secrete these two milk producing hormones into the bloodstream. The increased level of Prolactin in the bloodstream is distributed throughout the body, collecting particularly in the individual mammary glands. When stimulated by Prolactin, individual mammary glands combine certain body fluids into breast milk, which is then secreted into small sacs, called Alveoli, that are attached to the mammary glands. As the Alveoli sac becomes swollen with newly synthesized breast milk, it automatically expels the milk into the opening of an attached milk duct.
The inner walls of the milk ducts are made up of specialized skin cells called Myeoepithelial Cells, which when stimulated by the hormone Oxytocin, contract, pushing milk forward, through the milk ducts, toward the nipple. Breast milk is moved from the mammary glands and alveoli sacs, through the milk ducts by the pumping action of Myeoepithelial cells, (in response to having been stimulated by the hormone Oxytocin), to slightly enlarged tubercles behind the nipples, called Milk Sinuses. This action is known as the "Milk Letdown Reflex". At this point, milk may be either suckled or pumped from the milk sinuses through the nipple. Making milk through induced lactation or relactation is as simple as this. In response to proper physical and psychological stimulation, the female mammary system will synthesize and express milk; regardless of a woman's breast size, or whether she has ever been pregnant.
Keep in mind, as simple as the theory and practice of induced lactation or relactation is, producing a desirable flow of milk still requires dedication and self-discipline.