Prolactin & Oxytocin: Two Hormones That Will Increase Your Milk Supply

Prolactin & Oxytocin- Two Hormones That Will Increase Your Milk Supply

Discover the Benefits of Prolactin and Oxytocin for Increasing Milk Supply.

When it comes to breastfeeding, many mothers may face challenges with milk supply.

Understanding the role of hormones like prolactin and oxytocin can make a significant difference when learning about breastfeeding and what can increase your supply

What is Prolactin?

Prolactin is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland that plays a crucial role in milk production. During the first 3 weeks postpartum, prolactin receptors on the alveolar cells of your breast are incredibly responsive to skin to skin and nipple stimulation, which in turn works to increase prolactin and therefore increase milk supply. 

This hormone is released in response to the baby suckling/pumping at the breast, signalling the body to produce more milk to meet the demand. Basically- the more feeds you offer baby or pumping sessions, the more signals your body gets to produce more prolactin, in turn increasing your milk supply. 

The levels of prolactin are typically the highest 30 minutes after your last breastfeed, which signals your body to begin making milk for the next feed!

Some traditional herbs like fenugreek and fennel can also support your body to make the hormone prolactin. Fenugreek and Fennel are both included in Lactation Boost Breastfeeding Protein and is a wonderful addition to support your energy and milk supply.  

The role of Oxytocin in Breastfeeding

Oxytocin, often referred to as the "love hormone," is another key player in breastfeeding. This hormone is responsible for the let-down reflex, which contracts the muscle cells around your nipple forcing milk out of your milk ducts! Oxytocin is released when the baby latches onto the breast, causing the milk to flow. The more oxytocin released, the better the milk flow.

Research has shown that anxiety and acute stress can impact this release of oxytocin so it important to feed in a calm place, with minimal distraction to help production of oxytocin. If you are pumping, try looking at photos or videos of your little one that make you smile as this will support oxytocin production.

Increasing Milk Supply Naturally

There are several ways to naturally boost the production of prolactin and oxytocin to increase your milk supply. The first is to make sure you are offering frequent feeds to your little one or increasing your pumping. It's also important to make sure that baby is feeding effectively from your breast, so work alongside a IBCLC to get their expert support. 

Additionally, ensuring proper hydration, nutrition (by adding our Lactation Boost Breastfeeding Protein into your daily diet) and rest are essential factors. 

Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or gentle massage, can also promote the release of these hormones and improve milk production. Some mothers may also benefit from skin-to-skin contact with their babies, as this can help increase oxytocin levels.

Consulting an IBCLC

If you are experiencing challenges with milk supply, it is essential to consult with an IBCLC They can provide personalised guidance and support to help you optimise the production of prolactin and oxytocin for a successful breastfeeding journey. Head over to our Womens Health Directory to find an IBCLC near you. 

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