IMG_1808.JPG

The Let-Down Reflex

THE LET-DOWN OR MILK – EJECTION REFLEX

 

The let-down reflex is triggered by hormones. It releases the milk from all parts of the breast so that it is available to the baby.
 

Some milk accumulates in the milk reservoirs behind the nipple and in the ducts but most of the milk is made and stored in other parts of the breast.

During breastfeeding, the baby’s suck stimulates the let-down. The rhythmic motion of the jaws, lips and tongue send nerve impulses to the mother’s pituitary gland in the brain. Two hormones prolactin and oxytocin are released.

Prolactin is responsible for the production of milk and the oxytocin for the let-down or release of the milk. (Oxytocin is also responsible for the uterine contractions felt during a feed in the early days after delivery).


 

A mother may experience any of the following during breastmilk let-down
 

  • Tummy cramps (After pains)
     

  • “pins and needles” or achy feeling in the breast
     

  • Milk leaking from the other breast
     

  • Change in the baby’s suck swallow rhythm from quick sucks to long slow sucks with regular swallowing.

     

A let-down may occur many times during a feed. If it is delayed or inhibited, the baby may nurse well initially but then pull away in frustration. The baby may be sucking rapidly but not swallowing deeply or often.


 

To increase milk supply:

  • Relax (leisurely ladies lactate longer)
     

  • Feed frequently
     

  • Switch breasts during the feed (super switching)
     

  • Increase fluids and rest.
     

  • Increase intake of Vitamin B (Brewer’s yeast powder twice daily)
     

  • Lactation AOK, Mothers milk, Blessed Thistle drops, Lactagogue tea – All of which can be found at the Health Shop.


During the early weeks of breastfeeding the let-down may take a few extra minutes to occur. Later on it will be quicker and may also be triggered by other stimuli e.g. looking at baby, baby’s cry and even just thinking about baby.
 

Warm compresses, breast massage, being free of pain, unrestricted nursing and relaxation are all useful to encourage the let-down reflex.

©  Copyright Partners in Pregnancy

Meet our Midwives

or give us a call
on 06 769 9151
Copy of Partners In Pregnancy final logo
bg removedPartners In Pregnancy final lo
  • Facebook

Partners in Pregnancy
 

351 Devon St West
PO Box 829
New Plymouth

Ph: (06) 769 9151
Email: info@pipnp.co.nz
Clinic Hours and Location Map

Every single photo of the beautiful babies on this website is real (unless otherwise attributed). 
Real families, real babies - safely delivered by the loving hands of Partners in Pregnancy midwives.
Thank you to the whanau of Lexie, Jack, Chloe, Peyton and Quinn for allowing us to share your gorgeous photos. 
Images by Aimee Kelly Photography, Wedding and Newborn photographer, New Plymouth.

© Partners in Pregnancy 2021. Website by Kim Buchanan at Thames Web Design