Gain control over your hormonal health

How Your Breastfeeding Hormones Change Over Time

How Your Breastfeeding Hormones Change Over Time

Many new moms are starting their breastfeeding journey, so it is important to know how this process changes our bodies and our hormones. Breastfeeding hormones will change throughout the day and over the whole course of breastfeeding. To find out more, keep reading this blog post!

What hormones are involved in breastfeeding?

 

While you are pregnant, your hormones are working in order to prepare for breastfeeding once the baby is born. The hormones that are involved during pregnancy to prepare for breastfeeding are estrogen, progesterone and prolactin. Once the baby is born, more important roles are placed upon both prolactin and oxytocin.

How your breastfeeding hormones change over time: Estrogen

 

While you are pregnant, the placenta and ovaries release high amounts of estrogen into the body. The estrogen helps to cause the ductal system in the breasts to grow and form branches. After around 5-6 months of pregnancy, the breasts are ready, but both estrogen and progesterone work together to prevent the production of milk at this time. Once the baby is delivered, there is a drop in estrogen levels.

How your breastfeeding hormones change over time: Progesterone

 

Progesterone is also released during pregnancy by the placenta and ovaries and its role is to cause growth of the breast nodules, and to inhibit milk production after 5-6 months. There is also a reduction in progesterone levels after the baby is born.Foods That Can Boost Your Hormone Levels | Hormone University

How your breastfeeding hormones change over time: Prolactin

 

While you are pregnant, prolactin levels rise in the blood in preparation for producing breast milk, but this is blocked by estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy. As both estrogen and progesterone drop following birth, they can no longer inhibit the action of prolactin and breast milk is produced.

Prolactin has a large role in breastfeeding once the baby is born. When the baby begins to suckle, this triggers the release of more prolactin in the blood, which in turn triggers increased milk production. Prolactin levels are at their highest around 30 minutes after a baby begins feeding and remain high for about 3 hours. The more prolactin that is stimulated in the blood, the more milk is produced. These high levels of prolactin will remain for several months of breastfeeding and pumping, but levels will return to what they were before pregnancy over time. Insulin also plays a role in stimulating prolactin and milk production.

How your breastfeeding hormones change over time: Oxytocin

 

Oxytocin plays a number of important roles in breastfeeding, one of which is contracting cells to allow milk to flow into the duct and through the breast. This reflex of contracting cells to allow milk to flow is conditioned to the mother’s emotions and sensations, therefore if a mother thinks lovingly of her baby, this may cause milk to flow. If a mother is emotionally upset, this reflex can be inhibited.

Oxytocin also plays a very important role in bonding between mother and baby. Release of oxytocin during breastfeeding can promote a deep feeling of love and help you to nurture and look after your baby. Oxytocin will help a mother to relax and can also reduce stress and anxiety.

Share:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Related Posts
Scroll to Top

Sign up to receive our newsletter!

All the information you need on symptom management, hormone testing, nutrition and more questions to ask your doctor.

We ask you, humbly, to help.
Hormonal health education should be available to everyone. Help us achieve that mission.

Support our research at Hormone University with a donation of any size. At the centre of Hormone University is the mission to provide free, easily accessible information to everyone, so that no one is left to navigate their wellbeing journey alone.

Hormonal health affects everyone. Yet we live in a world of expensive health insurance, short medical appointments and commercially incentivized treatments.

We know that most people will ignore this message. But if Hormone University is useful to you or your loved ones, please consider making a donation of $5, $30, $50 or whatever you can to protect and sustain our work. Help us provide education for a healthier world. Your world, our world.