It is known that breast milk is a source of all the necessary nutrients for a child. What is lactation and what are its advantages, every woman should know, because the baby’s health depends on it throughout its life. In the modern world there are special schools for future mothers, which explain all the rules of breastfeeding, and also speak about the beneficial properties of natural milk.

What is lactation in women?

During the life of almost every woman deals with the concept of "lactation" on their own experience. Most often, this word refers to breastfeeding babies, but this is not always the case.

You can find out what lactation is in a wider sense in textbooks on medicine and gynecology. It is known that breastfeeding is a complex process, which is provided by the hormones of the brain. Normally, prolactin begins to stand out from the anterior pituitary immediately after childbirth. But there are also pathological conditions of the body, in which this hormone produces milk constantly. Usually the cause is a tumor of the anterior pituitary gland.

Based on this, you can answer the question, what is lactation. This concept means the release of milk from the mammary glands, regardless of whether the woman gave birth or not.

Lactation is what?

It is necessary to distinguish the extensive concept of "lactation" from breastfeeding. The latter is a physiological process and is not associated with pathology. In a narrow sense, we can say that the lactation period is breastfeeding. It begins during pregnancy and ends 2.5-3 years after the birth of the child.

Approximately 4-5 months after conception, prolactin production increases in the pregnant brain, resulting in colostrum. Therefore, during pregnancy, the breasts swell.

During childbirth, the hormone oxytocin is released, under the action of which an even greater release of prolactin occurs. From this moment begins the period of breastfeeding.

When to stop lactation, each woman decides individually, usually it occurs 1-1.5 years after delivery. But even if you do not suppress this process, the release of milk will take place on its own a little later.

Basic rules for breastfeeding

Despite the fact that the lactation period is different for everyone, there are generally accepted rules that every mother should follow.

It should be remembered that breast milk contains many useful substances needed by the baby in the first months of life. Despite the presence of artificial formulas for feeding babies, you need to know that they will not replace a natural product.

It is believed that breast milk is very important in the first 6 months of life. If the mother has the opportunity to feed the baby longer, then it will only benefit him.

In addition, it is worth remembering about the correct attachment of the baby to the breast: so that the baby's lips capture the entire halo, and not just the nipple.

The following rule of feeding is not to give baby pacifiers.

In addition, you need to know that up to six months the baby should receive exclusively breast milk (not to feed the baby with water for up to 6 months).

Nutrition during lactation

For a young mother to have enough milk, you need to eat right. Products for lactation need every woman, as they are useful and the baby.

First of all it is important to be aware of the need to consume as much liquid as possible. It is recommended to drink tea with milk, as well as kefir.

You should eat several times a day. Mothers need to eat more dairy products (cereals, cottage cheese, kefir). Also in the diet should include meat, fish, fruits and vegetables.

It is necessary to exclude sweet, sour and salty foods. This is necessary to avoid allergic reactions in the child, as well as intestinal colic.

In some cases, despite proper nutrition, the baby lacks mother's milk. Then you should eat special products for lactation. These include: walnuts, chicken eggs, cheese, vegetables, and milk. It is important to remember about the use of liquid (tea, soups, jelly).

How to suppress lactation?

Despite the fact that breast milk is necessary for babies, there comes a time when it is time to stop breastfeeding. It is worth remembering that the suppression of lactation is desirable to begin not earlier than when the child is 1 year old.

There are several ways to stop breastfeeding. The first is - tight ligation of the mammary glands. The effectiveness of this method has been known for a long time, but it is considered undesirable because of the danger of developing mastitis. In addition, at the time of bandaging the baby must be removed from the mother for several days, which is stressful for him.

Currently, doctors recommend suppressing lactation in a more benign way - by phasing out breastfeeding. This method takes longer, but is less dangerous to health. The mother should be for several weeks to increase the intervals between feedings. At this time, it is necessary to distract the baby with walks and games, to replace breast milk with kefir and not to become bare in the presence of the child.

Changes in the mammary glands during lactation

It is known that the breast during lactation undergoes strong changes. The mammary glands begin to swell and increase in size at the beginning of pregnancy, reaching a maximum in the first six months after birth.

After the baby is born, the breast begins to decrease gradually. This process ends when a woman suppresses lactation.

In most cases, after breastfeeding is complete, the mammary glands lose their former shape and begin to sag. To fix this, you need to do special exercises that will help to return the figure. But to begin physical exercises is only a few months after the termination of lactation.