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When Does a Woman Begin Producing Milk For Her Baby?

October 5, 2017

 

So, when does a woman’s body begin producing milk for her baby? Before giving the answer, I think it is important to clarify that colostrum is indeed a type of milk. I think this can be confusing because the composition and appearance is different that mature milk. Colostrum is low in fat (which small babies would have a more difficult time digesting), and is high in protein and carbohydrates. Colostrum also contains antibodies called IgA “secretory immunoglobulin”, which protect the mucus membranes in the throat, lungs, and intestine. There are also leukocytes present which protect the baby from harmful bacteria and viruses. Colostrum also introduces beneficial bacteria to their gut, which helps in the development of their digestive tracks. This is only a partial list of the benefits of colostrum.  Colostrum is also usually orange, golden, or clear in color. Not only is it made in small quantities, but it is thick and syrupy. This is very different from the appearance of mature milk. But it is milk, the first form of milk.

 

A woman’s body usually begins making colostrum between weeks 16-22 of pregnancy. There have been reports of women producing colostrum as early as 14 weeks. So, the correct answer is A. The body knows what to do and begins the process of making milk early in pregnancy. A woman’s body makes milk and reabsorbs it throughout the pregnancy. Some women will leak colostrum while pregnant, and others will not. Both are normal. The body will release the milk more freely with a hormonal shift after the placenta is out.

This is why women are able to produce milk for premature babies. This is important because premature babies are high risk, and therefore benefit from breastmilk the most!

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SOS Lactation was founded to provide families with immediate, quality breastfeeding support. Unfortunately, many mothers are filled with all sorts of well meaning, but inaccurate information. At SOS Lactation you can rely on accurate, evidence-based information to assist you on your breastfeeding journey.

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 UPCOMING EVENTS: 

4/1/2019 Say It With Your Breast! Breastfeeding meet up 10-11 am at Vital Family Chiropractic

5/6/2019 Say It With Your Breast! Breastfeeding meet up 10-11 am at Vital Family Chiropractic 

5/18/2019 Breastfeeding Basics Class 2-3:45 pm at the North Houston Birth Center 

 

5/18/2019 Say It With Your Breast! Breastfeeding meet up 4-5 pm at the North Houston Birth Center 

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