It is known that breast milk is the source of all necessary nutrients for the child. What is lactation and what are its benefits, every woman should know, because this affects the health of the baby throughout his life. In the modern world there are special schools for expectant mothers, in which all the rules of breastfeeding are explained, as well as the beneficial properties of natural milk.

What is lactation in women?

During life, almost every woman has to deal with the concept of "lactation" on her own experience. Most often, this word means breastfeeding infants, but this is not always the case.

Learn what lactation in the broader sense is possible in textbooks on medicine and gynecology. It is known that breastfeeding is a complex process that is provided by the hormones of the brain. Normally, prolactin begins to be allocated anterior lobe of the pituitary gland immediately after childbirth. But there are also pathological conditions of the organism, in which this hormone produces milk constantly. Usually the cause is the swelling of the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland.

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

The lactation period is what?

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

Approximately 4-5 months from the moment of conception in the brain of a pregnant woman, the production of prolactin increases, as a result of which colostrum appears. Therefore, during pregnancy, swelling of the mammary glands occurs.

In the period of childbirth, the hormone oxytocin is released, which causes an even greater release of prolactin. From this moment begins the period of breastfeeding.

When to stop lactation, each woman decides individually, usually it occurs 1-1,5 years after childbirth. But even if you do not suppress this process, then the milk will be separated out a little later.

Basic rules of breastfeeding

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

It should be remembered that breast milk contains many useful substances that the baby needs in the first months of life. Despite the presence of artificial mixtures for infant feeding, you need to know that they do not replace the 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 child longer, then it will only benefit him.

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

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

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

Eating during lactation

That the young mother had enough milk, it is necessary to eat right. Products for lactation are needed for every woman, since they are useful to the baby.

First of all, it is important to know about the need to consume as much fluid as possible. It is recommended to drink tea with milk, as well as kefir.

Eat several times a day. The mother needs to eat more dairy products (porridge, cottage cheese, kefir). Also, 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 does not have enough mother's milk. Then you should use 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, kissel).

How to suppress lactation?

Despite the fact that mother's milk is necessary for infants, there comes a time when it's time to stop breastfeeding. It is worth remembering that suppression of lactation should be started no earlier than when the child is 1 year old.

There are several ways to stop breastfeeding. The first is a tight ligature 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 dressing the child should be removed from the mother for several days, which is a stress for him.

Currently, doctors recommend to suppress lactation in a more gentle way - a gradual refusal of breastfeeding. This method takes longer, but is less dangerous to health. The mother must, within a few weeks, increase the intervals between the feedings. At this time, it is necessary to distract the kid by walking and playing games, substituting breast milk with kefir and not being naked in the presence of the child.

Change in mammary glands during lactation

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

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

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