When does breast milk come in during pregnancy?

Pregnancy is a period in which a woman’s body experiences a multitude of physiological and hormonal changes. From the beginning of the pregnancy, pregnant women perceive specific changes and different sensations in their breasts. The fault lies with the hormones, responsible for preparing the breasts for breastfeeding. This article explains when does breast milk come in during pregnancy? Why they occur and if these losses affect the baby.

When does breast milk come in during pregnancy

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How do a woman’s breasts change in pregnancy?

One of the parts that change the most during this time is the breasts, which prepare for the baby’s arrival. They initiate a “spectacular transformation” and develop “complex structures” to feed the newborn; however, although it is at puberty when the breasts begin to build, after this stage, they are not mature organs and continue to change until menopause.


On the other hand, as part of the menstrual cycle, the breasts renew their internal cells. That is why women may feel soft and tender or experience swelling during their period. Increased size and tenderness during pregnancy or pain after delivery are some of the changes that breasts experience from pregnancy to weaning.


Internal Breast Changes during Pregnancy

With pregnancy, the cycle of renewal of the internal cells of the breasts is interrupted. With the removal of the placenta, the mother’s progesterone levels begin to drop, which initiates the transformation of the breasts into milk-producing organs.


During this period, the internal breast ducts that carry milk from the breast lobes to the nipple, called lactiferous, increase in number and complexity and begin to branch out to form a complex feeding system for the baby.


In turn, the milk-producing cells, the lactocytes, also begin to develop inside the breasts, and the amount of blood reaching the breasts doubles, which is why the veins can be seen through the skin. All this activity inside the breasts may cause some of the first signs of pregnancy, such as pain, tingling, swelling, or heaviness.


Often, breast changes are the first sign of pregnancy for many women. After three or four weeks, increased hormones and changes in the structure of the breasts make the breasts and nipples much more sensitive and tender.


Also, throughout pregnancy, breast augmentation is likely to be one and a half sizes larger than before. At approximately 12 weeks of pregnancy, it is essential to purchasing a pregnancy bra. Seamless models are recommended because underwired bras can get stuck in the milk ducts during their development, with wide straps and a piece of soft, breathable fabric.

Changes in the second and third trimesters

During the second trimester, the nipples and areolas may increase in size, since about the 15th week of pregnancy is when the milk-producing cells will be activated. In week 22, their production will start. However, the body will reabsorb this milk because pregnancy hormones prevent it from accumulating or leaking.


Besides, the small lumps or pimples of the areola, Montgomery’s tubers, become more extensive and darker, secreting moisturizing oil that protects against pain and infection when breastfeeding begins. Scientists believe that this oil is similar to amniotic fluid and can help guide the newborn to the nipples to start breastfeeding after birth. It is recommended that this area be cleaned only with water and dried with a towel by tapping gently.


During the third trimester, if the mother-to-be has flat or inverted nipples and has passed 32 weeks of gestation in a healthy pregnancy, it is advisable to place some nipple former inside the bra to help remove them. It will make easy for the newborn baby to latch on to the breast.


Also, in these last months, your breasts will likely feel heavier or sore. This feeling can be improved by wearing a sleep or sports bra for exercise, and to avoid chest and ligament pain.

On the other hand, breast enlargement can also occur suddenly during pregnancy and stretch marks or itching may appear on the breasts. To alleviate this feeling, mothers-to-be can use a moisturizing cream, although the appearance of stretch marks has more to do with genetics and skin type.

When does Breast milk come in During Pregnancy?

The first stage of breast milk production (lactogenesis) begins in the second trimester of pregnancy. At that time, a process is started that will continue until the total rise in milk, two or three days after the baby’s birth. You may also like Top 10 Benefits of Breastfeeding for newborn and You.

When does breast milk come in during pregnancy

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When does Breast milk come in During Pregnancy?

Breast milk is produced from the first trimester of pregnancy, and it is ready to be fed to the baby by the time of birth. At first, it is yellowish for about 2 to 3 days, which we call colostrum. As the baby swallows it, it will cover its intestine with antibodies, vitamin A and cells to protect it from the disease.

In this phase, some women, especially those who have been mothers before, begin to secrete small drops of a thick, yellowish liquid from their nipples. That is called colostrum, a natural fluid formed by plasma, cells, sodium, chlorine, and some lactose, among other components.

Precolostrum is the precursor of colostrum, the first breast milk produced, essential food for the baby, as it will provide the baby with the most excellent protection for his or her immune system during the first days of breastfeeding.

Sometimes, drops of colostrum flow naturally or after stimulation of the nipples. But sometimes they are small white scabs on the nipple, which correspond to drops of this colostrum already dried out. Slight pressure on the nipple and wet gauze allows these dry secretions to be removed.

Colostrum also has a laxative effect that allows the elimination of meconium more quickly. Apparently, at first, it may seem that the volume of colostrum and milk that the breast produces is minimal. Still, it is what the baby needs because its gastric capacity is small and will develop as the baby’s needs increase.


Surprisingly, at the same time, the mammary gland is increasing the volume of milk. From approximately 180 millilitres per day the first few days, it expands to 540 or so per week, and when it reaches an amount of 1,100 to 1,200 millilitres.


That is a dynamic process that we must let evolve; that is if we start with doubts such as: will it be enough, will it not stay hungry, and we try to supplement with formula, the process stops, and the mammary gland will start to lower its production. Hope you got it when does breast milk come in during pregnancy.


What hormones are involved in milk production?

There are two hormones: prolactin and oxytocin. The first one is in charge of producing milk, and the second one is in charge of expelling it.


For the hormones to be produced, the baby must suck the nipple frequently, if he does it irregularly because he is alternated or supplemented with a bottle, the hormonal response will be minimal, and the volume of milk will gradually decrease until production stops.


If the breast is offered frequently, there will be a higher hormonal level, and the milk production will be greater so that even a foster mother can produce milk if she receives enough stimulation in her nipples.


Oxytocin is a very sensitive hormone. It depends a lot on the mother’s mood if she is confused, anxious, in pain or depressed, the production of the hormone is altered, it decreases, and she does not expel the milk. It is convenient that the mother relaxes, concentrates, and locates herself only at the moment of breastfeeding so that her milk flows freely.


Is Breast Milk loss During Pregnancy Dangerous?

However, “secretions of breast milk or colostrum during pregnancy should not alarm expectant mothers, as they are normal and do not show any problem,” says the Breastfeeding Committee of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics.

These small losses of breast milk do not affect the amount of colostrum the baby will receive after birth, as they are usually minimal. This is taken care of by some of the pregnancy hormones, such as progesterone and estrogen, “which have an inhibitory effect on prolactin, the hormone that stimulates the production of breast milk,” says Padrós.


As the time of delivery approaches, progesterone and estrogen levels decrease, and, just after delivery, a prolactin spike is generated that drives the milk to rise in the two or three days following birth. “In these first days, a volume of colostrum per feeding of between 2 and 20 millilitres is produced, an amount sufficient to meet the needs of the newborn,” explains the Breastfeeding Committee.

Pregnant woman’s breast leaks breast milk, recommendations.

The secretion of some milk in pregnancy should not be a concern; therefore, since “it is not at all related to the amount of milk produced after delivery,” specialists say. Above all, the consequences of these losses can be hygienic, since the secretion may stain the pregnant woman’s underwear or other garments. To prevent this, breastfeeding discs, small cotton discs designed to collect breast milk that leaks out after breastfeeding has started, can be used.


As for cleaning, specialists recommend that you clean your nipples as usual and dry them well after washing. Also, it is advisable not to apply creams, vaselines, or fatty substances that can soften the skin.


Loss of breast milk during pregnancy: keys

  • The secretion of colostrum is a natural thing during pregnancy, which should not alert pregnant women. It is painless and poses no danger to the mother or baby.
  • Women who have already been mothers are more likely to experience milk loss during pregnancy.
  • Cotton breastfeeding pads could be used to prevent from breast milk staining clothing, special.
  • The cleaning of the breasts should be the usual one, and it is advisable not to use creams and fatty substances that can soften the skin in excess.
  • The loss of milk during pregnancy does not affect later breastfeeding: the gestation hormones are responsible for inhibiting the rise of milk until after the baby is born.

 If you have suggestions or any experience about when does breast milk come in during pregnancy, please let us know your comments.

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