How Your Milk Is Made

How Your Milk Is Made

Your baby helps you make milk by suckling and removing milk from your breast.

The more milk your baby drinks, the more milk your body will make. Knowing how your milk is made can help you better understand the breastfeeding process.

The breast is made up of several parts:

The area of darker-colored skin on the breast around the nipple
The small, raised area in the center of the areola
Small, grapelike sacs
A cluster of alveoli
Milk Ducts:
Tubes that carry milk to the nipple
The parts of the breast that make milk; each lobe contains alveoli and milk ducts
The act of breastfeeding – your baby suckling at your breast – signals the brain to release hormones. These hormones are called prolactin and oxytocin. Prolactin causes your alveoli to make breastmilk. Oxytocin causes small muscles around the alveoli to squeeze milk out through the milk ducts

This passing of the milk down the ducts is called the “let-down” reflex.

Let-down is experienced in many ways including:

The let-down reflex may also occur when:

The release of prolactin and oxytocin may make you feel a strong sense of needing to be with your baby.