The Let-Down Reflex – Breastfeeding

Over the last few weeks we have been exploring the topic of breastfeeding. Today we investigate the let-down reflex and how to make sure yours is working well.

Stress, anxiety, baby blues, and post partum depression can interfere with your let-down reflex. The let-down reflex is your bodies natural release of milk into the milk ducts, triggered by hormones that are released when your baby is nursing. Hearing your baby cry or thinking about your infant also activates the let-down reflex. If you find yourself stressed or having trouble with anxiety, baby blues and postpartum depression, try to take a few minutes to relax before feeding, try to stay as calm as possible before and during the feed. Playing relaxing music and practicing yoga or meditation regularly or taking a hot shower can help let your milk down and flow more easily.

Some women will feel a tingling sensation which can be quite strong during let-down, others may feel nothing but you will see your baby respond when your milk lets down. Their quick sucks will change to deep swallows as the milk begins to flow. Sometimes this can be so strong that your infant might cough or splutter, if this is a regular occurrence, speak to your midwife for tips on your child’s positioning and attachment. If your baby is falling asleep during the deep swallowing phase, they may not be attaching properly.

Stay as relaxed and calm as possible before and during nursing — it can help your milk let down and flow more easily. That, in turn, can help calm and relax your infant making feeding a more manageable and pleasant experience.

Subscribe to our blog or stay tuned via our Facebook page. Next week we’ll find out how to continue breastfeeding when going back to work.

Written by: Bianca Steyn

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