Breastfeeding is an activity to fulfill the baby’s basic and nutritional needs with breastmilk. In producing breast milk to serve it to the baby, there are 2 hormones that play an important role, which is known as the lactation hormone. Breastfeeding hormones increase after Mama gives birth and the placenta detached from the uterus. These two hormones replace the pregnancy hormones, namely estrogen and progesterone, which decrease after Mama gives birth.

These breastfeeding hormones are called Prolactin & Oxytocin. Let’s get to know more about these two hormones.

2 Types of Breastfeeding Hormones

  1. Prolactin hormone

As the breastfeeding hormone, prolactin plays a role in the process of milk production. According to MedLine Plus, prolactin is produced by the pituitary gland, a gland in the human brain. Prolactin is responsible for growing the mammary glands in Mama’s breasts and preparing breast milk throughout pregnancy.

During pregnancy, the amount of prolactin is still low, and only works to prepare for the breastfeeding phase. When the baby is born, the amount of this hormone will increase and more breastmilk will be produced. Prolactin levels will return to normal a few months after breastfeeding.

When the baby suckles, sensory stimulation will be channeled to the brain, the prolactin hormone will be released as the response. The hormone will go to the breast through the bloodstream and then stimulate the cells to produce breast milk. Prolactin hormone’s production is controlled by the dopamine and estrogen hormones. Dopamine functions to suppress the production of prolactin, while Estrogen functions to increase the production.

The frequency of the baby’s sucking and the proper nutritional intake that Mama consumes can increase the production of the breastfeeding hormone, Ma. This is why Mama is advised to regularly breastfeed your baby, to stimulate an increase in breast milk production.

2. Oxytocin hormone

If the prolactin hormone plays a role in the breast milk production as a chef in a restaurant, then the oxytocin hormone acts as a breastmilk waiter or in charge of serving breast milk for the baby. Reported by the American Psychological Association, this breastfeeding hormone is produced in the hypothalamus, then transmitted by the pituitary gland through the bloodstream, other parts of the brain, and spinal cord. Blood flow that carries this hormone to the breast to do its job in producing breast milk. When your baby suckles, oxytocin triggers the smooth muscles around the milk-making cells to release breast milk.

Other than being a breastfeeding hormone, oxytocin also plays a role in helping the labor process by stimulating uterine contractions. News Medical says that after delivery, oxytocin helps Mama’s uterus return to its original size by contracting, and also helps to reduce bleeding.

The oxytocin hormone is often called the love hormone, Ma. Why? When Mama breastfeeds the baby, Mama will feel attracted and attached to your baby. According to Healthline, this is the moment when the brain releases dopamine, then increases serotonin, and finally produces oxytocin. This hormone makes Mama have positive emotions and feel happy.

These two breastfeeding hormones, both prolactin and oxytocin, help Mama form an emotional bond with the baby through breastfeeding. It is important for Mama to maintain a good mood and manage stress so that breast milk production & ejection runs smoothly. Beside that, it is recommended for Mama to eat nutritious foods and drink enough water to support the smooth production of breastmilk.

Well, that’s the duo of hormones that play a role in breastfeeding. So, what does Mama usually do to make these two hormones work optimally?

Penulis: Rosyidatul Hakika

Translator: Dhivanty Maulidina

Editor: Mega Pratidina





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