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A Complete Guide to Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Guide –Your Guide to Starting Breastfeeding
Before you get pregnant, a combination of supportive tissue, milk glands, and fat
make up the larger portions of your breasts. The fact is your newly swollen
breasts have been preparing for your pregnancy since you were in your mother’s
womb!
When you were born, your main milk ducts had already formed. Your mammary
glands stayed quiet until you reached puberty, when a flood of the female
hormone estrogen caused them to grow and also to swell. During pregnancy,
those glands will kick into high gear.
Before your baby arrives, glandular tissue has replaced a majority of the fat cells
and accounts for your bigger than before breasts. Each breast may actually get as
much as 1 ½ pounds heavier than before!
Nestled among the fatty cells and glandular tissue is an intricate network of
channels or canals known as the milk ducts. The pregnancy hormones will cause
these ducts to increase in both number and size, with the ducts branching off into
smaller canals near the chest wall known as ductules.
At the end of each duct is a cluster of smaller sacs known as alveoli. The cluster
of alveoli is known as a lobule, while a cluster of lobule is known as a lobe. Each
breast will contain around 15 - 20 lobes, with one milk duct for every lobe.
The milk is produced inside of the alveoli, which is surrounded by tiny muscles
that squeeze the glands and help to push the milk out into the ductules. Those
ductules will lead to a bigger duct that widens into a milk pool directly below the
areola.
The milk pools will act as reservoirs that hold the milk until your baby sucks it
through the tiny openings in your nipples.
Mother Nature is so smart that your milk duct system will become fully
developed around the time of your second trimester, so you can properly breast
feed your baby even if he or she arrives earlier than you are anticipating.
Benefits of Breast Feeding
Once you’ve given birth, breast feeding is the single most important thing you can
do to protect your baby and help to promote good health. Best of all, breast
feeding is free.
Along with saving you money on HMR (Human Milk Replacement), breast
feeding can also help you to keep your medical bills down. Babies that are fed
with formula get sicker more often and more seriously than babies that are breast
fed. They also have more ear infections, respiratory infections, and other
problems.
This can be even truer if your family has had a history of allergies. When a baby
is breast fed, the antibodies pass on from the mother to the baby, helping to
protect against illness and allergies. As the baby’s system matures, his body will
begin to make its own antibodies, and he’ll be more equipped to handle
sensitivities of food.
©2007 Richard Lawson – Visit www.notjustbasics.com/breastfeed
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