Maybe some of you rarely hear the term let down reflex or even just hear this term. Let-down reflex is a natural reflex that occurs to the mother when breastfeeding her baby, and this is the key to the success of the mother when giving breast milk to the baby .. To find out more, you should refer to the following explanation.
What is a reflex let-down?
Let-down reflex is a reflex that helps your milk come out more smoothly while breastfeeding, so that if the let-down reflex is successful in the mother, the milk given to the baby can meet the baby's needs. Let-down reflexes occur naturally if you breastfeed your baby properly. Some of you may not feel it, but don't worry, that doesn't mean your let-down reflex doesn't work.
Let-down reflex starts from the baby suction on the mother's breast. This baby suction then stimulates the nerves in the mother's nipples. These nerves then cause the hormone prolactin and oxytocin to be released into the mother's bloodstream. The prolactin hormone reacts to the milk-producing tissue in your breast. Meanwhile, the hormone oxytocin serves to push the small muscles around the milk-producing cells to contract. This contraction causes the breast to push out (let-down).
How long the let-down reflex works when breastfeeding mothers vary between individuals, even different between the time of breastfeeding one another. However, reflex let-down usually works a few seconds to a few minutes while breastfeeding.
Let-down reflexes are not only triggered by baby suction, but can also be triggered from contact with the baby, or only from your feelings. When you hear the sound of a baby crying, you will spontaneously breastfeed your baby and the milk in your breast will automatically flow out.
So, reflex let-down helps you push the milk out to be sucked by the baby. If your let-down reflex doesn't work properly, this can cause problems while breastfeeding. The milk that comes out of your breast will decrease in number, so the baby receives less milk. Over time the baby will refuse to suckle and can interfere with the baby's growth.
How do you support let down reflex when breastfeeding or pumping breast milk?
Let-down reflexes can help smooth your milk production. Some ways you can do so that the let-down reflex works well when you are breastfeeding or are pumping breast milk.
When breastfeeding or pumping breast milk, you should be in a calm condition. Peace in yourself can help your body produce milk better. When you start breastfeeding or pumping milk, you can take deep breaths and slowly remove them. This can help you calm down. Some of you may need to drink warm water or while listening to music. Another thing you can do is to place a warm water compress on your breast a few minutes before you start breastfeeding your baby
Gently massage your breasts
Massage on your breasts, especially on the nipples can help let-down reflexes. You can start massage from the upper part of the breast, then massage gently towards your nipples. Elus nipples with your fingers slowly. Next, feed your baby.
Think about your baby
When breastfeeding or pumping breast milk, it's best to focus your mind on your baby. This helped the let-down reflex work well. When you are pumping your milk, it's best to do it near your baby. Or, if you are pumping breast milk in the office or in a place far away from the baby, you can do it while looking at your baby's photo.
You need support from the person closest to you
Yes, you really need support from the people closest to you while breastfeeding, such as your husband, parents, mother-in-law, closest friends, and others. Great support makes you confident to be able to give milk to your baby. Your husband might be able to help by massaging your shoulder and making you more relaxed when you feel exhausted.
How do you know whether your let-down reflex is working properly?
Some mothers may feel the let-down sensation, while some other mothers have never felt the let-down sensation. However, this does not mean that your let-down reflex is not going well.
There are signs when your let-down reflex works properly, namely:
- Mothers may feel cramps in the part of their uterus in the first few weeks of breastfeeding.
- You feel a tingling or heat sensation in your breast while breastfeeding.
- Babies experience changes in the sucking pattern of the mother's nipples. From those that have been short sucking to longer and longer.
- Your milk drips from the other breast that is not being sucked into a baby.
- When breastfeeding, the mother feels more calm and relaxed, sometimes even the mother feels sleepy.
- Mothers feel very thirsty while breastfeeding.
- Babies swallow more often, even baby sounds when they swallow until they are heard in the mother's ear when the baby is suckling.
- Your baby is gaining weight every month.
Sometimes, you will feel itching in the breast, nausea, headache, or negative emotions when the let-down reflex occurs. This is the effect of releasing the hormone oxytocin by your body.
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