Subject: Inducing Lactation
Published: 25 June 2019
Letdown and Milk Flow: Defining The Mindset
Describing how to create a specific mindset in a way that can be useful to another person can be all but impossible, and there is a reason.
Definition of Mindset (Dictionary.com):
- an attitude, disposition, or mood.
- an intention or inclination.
With that stated however, when I use the term *Mindset* in reference to letdown and milk flow, I am referring more to the self-identity of a woman's subconscious psyche, rather than just saying she should have a positive attitude or positive thoughts. The amalgam of apposite thoughts and emotions that creates a specific subconscious mindset in the psyche that enables the kind of letdown reflex and milk flow needed to increase a woman's volume of milk to the level she desires.
From experience we know: Mastering a strong letdown reflex, and uninhibited milk flow are two key elements to increasing milk volume. When the letdown reflex is strong, and milk flow is uninhibited, (even though the volume of milk is low in the beginning), it will steadily increase as the demand for milk increases.
Also from studies we know: Mindset, (i.e. the self-identity of an individual in the human psyche), is the result of a formation of specific thoughts and emotions in our consciousness and subconscious mind. And through common knowledge we know: Thoughts and emotions exist in actuality, but without physical properties or material substance. Even though thoughts and emotions exist as real things, they exist as metaphysical objects, void of any physical form or material substance. ("Metaphysical object" meaning existing in a non-physical or incorporeal form)
The problem with describing metaphysical objects and concepts that have no physical properties or material substance, lies in the limitations of our language(s). Human language evolved primarily to describe things that exist in physical form and have physical properties, and being the case, we have few words that specifically illustrate anything that does not have physical properties or material substance.
For example: If I were to describe a red rubber ball, there are words that can accurately describe its shape, size, color and density, right down to the atomic level; however, if I try to describe a thought or an emotion, all I have is generalities that can have different meanings to different people. I can iterate what my thought may be, or how an emotion may feel to me, but there are no words that accurately describe what a thought or an emotion actually is in substance, or how to experience specific thoughts and emotions in combination to create a particular mindset.
When it comes to describing something that does not exist in any physical form, (such as a specific mindset), sometimes the best we can do is try to convey our point by using analogies, metaphors and examples.
My point: As irrelevant as the opening paragraphs may seem to the subject, there is a point to my rambling. When it comes to understanding the relevance of the human psyche and subconscious mindset to successfully inducing lactation, (to borrow a common phrase), "You have to think outside of the box".
To illustrate the mindset needed to successfully induce lactation, perhaps I can use this example of how women living in a primitive culture relactated to breastfeed orphaned newborns.
In the 1930s, Margaret Mead, (an American anthropologist), while studying the sexual behavior of adolescents in primitive cultures in New Guinea, made notes in the margin of her journals as to how orphaned infants were breastfed. When a baby couldn't be nursed by its birth mother for whatever reason, it wasn't given to a woman already lactating and breastfeeding as you might expect, rather it was given to a woman who had recently breastfed, and had stopped producing milk. By simply putting the child to her breast, the surrogate mother quickly relactated in amounts sufficient to breast feed a child.
At this point for clarity, the difference between relactation and inducing lactation should be noted:
Relactation: When a woman has breastfed recently, (even though she has stopped producing milk), the milk producing cells in her mammary glands, (alveoli), are still distended, (enlarged), enough to produce an adequate volume of milk.
Induced Lactation: When a woman is inducing lactation for the first time, or if it has been a long period since she last lactated, her alveoli are small, and it takes longer for them to grow to the size necessary to produce a larger volume of milk.
With this difference noted, both the physical and mental method for inducing lactation and relactation are the same. The only real difference between induced lactation and relactation is the length of time it takes to produce larger volumes of milk.
The question is why, a woman living in a primitive culture as would have been the case in 1930 New Guinea, was it so easy for her to relactate outside of pregnancy, when today, with all our medical knowledge and hormonal supplements available, is it so difficult for a woman to induce lactation?
Physically, both women have the same capability to produce an equal volume of milk.
So what is the difference?
The difference is in mindset: A woman living in 1930 New Guinea could easily relactate because no one told her she couldn't.
A young girl growing up in New Guinea in the 1930s would have assumed that when she reached adulthood, she would breast feed like every other woman in her village. Through her entire life, she never once questioned her ability to lactate and breast feed: to her, it was just what women do. This mindset was an integral part of her self-identity as a woman.
Now consider how young girls grow up in our western culture.
From their earliest memory, young girls in our society are taught, not necessarily by their parents or family, but by cultural example that babies should be bottle fed: not breast fed. That having milk in her breasts as an adult will somehow be degrading to her future womanhood. It's not uncommon for girls growing up in our culture to see in the news, mothers being ask to leave public places for doing nothing more than trying to breast feed their child.
How can a child believe breast feeding is acceptable when they see adults shunned for it?
And to make it even worse, young men, (with whom they will have to establish relationships as they grow up), often believe breast milk is disgusting.
All of these things affect how a child sees the world in which they will live as adults, (and their role in that world), and no child growing up wants to be seen as undesirable by their peers.
Children aren't necessarily taught taboos intentionally; rather, it's that young children learn how to be adults from the world in which they live.
Case in point: Where the genetic self-identity of animals such as cats and dogs are permanently imprinted in their brain at birth, as humans, (because we have free will), we have to learn who we will be as adults, and unfortunately, we sometimes learn things subconsciously as children that hold us back as adults.
In reality, every woman whose breasts and mammary glands are healthy and undamaged by disease, trauma or surgery, and whose endocrine system) is healthy and intact, (including her mid-brain, pituitary gland and hypothalamus, etc), is capable of producing as much milk as any other woman, pregnant or not.
If during the process of inducing lactation, a woman is able to letdown and express a few drops of milk, (even though the volume is small because her alveoli are still small), she has successfully induced lactation. It isn't the amount of milk that indicates success, it's the fact that you are producing milk in any quantity that indicates success.
When woman has successfully induced lactation, (even though there may be only a few drops in the beginning), the next step is to increase milk volume.
With that said however, when a woman reaches the point where she begins expressing milk, (particularly early in the process when there are only drops), only to see her milk flow stop suddenly and inexplicably: the inhibitor is not in her technique or her hormone levels, the inhibitor is in her subconscious.
There is no doubt, you consciously want to lactate and breast feed, and equally, there is no doubt your mid-brain and endocrine system is fully capable of creating the hormones necessary for lactation, however, your subconscious self-identity, (your subconscious mindset), has the control.
When a woman is lactating and breast feeding normally, her subconscious sends a signal to her mid-brain to continue milk flow as long as her nipple(s) are being stimulated by either suckling, or by other similar means. However, if at some point in her life, her subconscious mindset has come to believe she cannot or should not lactate, (for whatever reason), it will send a signal to her mid-brain to cease lactation instead.
The mid-brain cannot think, nor make decisions, it can only follow genetically encoded instincts, whether those instincts are genetically encoded in the brain at birth, or whether they were learned as you grew up. If the process of inducing seems to be going perfectly, and your milk flow stops for no apparent reason, your subconscious has sent a signal to your mid-brain to stop milk flow, and it will do it without you being consciously aware of why.
Fortunately, (because we have free will), this subconscious inhibitor can be overcome; however, unfortunately, (because there are no words that definitively describe thoughts and emotions), I don't have the linguistic skills to tell you how to recognize the subconscious mindset that leads to lactation and uninhibited milk flow.
Most women in their younger years, (at one time or another), were led to believe that a woman cannot lactate outside of pregnancy, and/or, to be accepted by her peers as an adult deserving of their respect, her breasts should remain dry. And being led to believe that lactation and breast feeding may not be a good thing in today's world, (particularly if she faces this misinformation during her formative years), it is easy for a young woman's subconscious to accept the false belief that preventing milk flow is in her best interest.
Overcoming a less than cooperative subconscious mindset is easier said than done. While our conscious mind, (our conscious thought process), can be flighty and imaginative at times, (making it easy to change our mind); our subconscious gives us stability, which makes it more difficult to change our subconscious mind. However, it can be done.
A point to be noted: A woman's outward personality has little to do with her ability to lactate and breast feed. When it comes to her ability to lactate and breast feed, one woman can have a strong, outgoing personality, even with somewhat of a gruff exterior; while another woman may be shy and demure; however, even with the difference in personality, both women can lactate and breast feed equally. Neither does breast size affect a woman's ability to produce milk and breast feed.
When it comes to lactating and breast feeding, different women may have very different outward personalities; however, the emotions of their inner-self, (their subconscious psyche), are the same. When a woman is lactating, (particularly when she is breast feeding), the feeling in her subconscious psyche is that of a serene inner peace, and a profound self confidence. Not self-confidence as you might find in the psyche of a strong business woman or even a feminist, but a serene feeling of just being comfortable with who she is as a woman.
While techniques such as meditation, self-hypnosis and bio-feedback can help overcome a less than cooperative subconscious mindset, it really comes down to contemplation and reevaluation of one's past, and what brought you to this time and place. What you may have erroneously accepted without question as a child, and why you believe what you believe as an adult.
As children, we are taught many things for our own good that don't necessarily apply to adulthood, and unfortunately when we grow up, no one ever tells us, "you are an adult now, so forget those things I taught you as a child, and make your own decisions". When we reach adulthood, we are just expected to figure it all out, and sometimes we don't get everything right.
The subconscious mind can be changed, but it takes a lot of thought and contemplation.
When you are serenely comfortable with who you are as a woman, and you come to understand your inner subconscious mindset, your milk will flow.
Essay/Commentary by Hudson