MML Post # 19545 – 8 Nov. 2014
As I pointed out in previous commentaries, overall, lactation and breastfeeding is the result of the proper balance of certain milk essential hormones, proper physical and emotional stimulation, and mindset. In addition to these essential elements, specifically, letdown and milk flow (the letdown reflex), is triggered by the result of the woman’s immediate circumstance being transmitted to her conscious/subconscious via one or more of the five senses, (sight, sound, touch, etc.). Click here, see more at giftofmilk.com The key to understanding how to successfully induce lactation, (and producing enough milk to breastfeed without becoming dependent on Domperidone), is in understanding how the mental process of letdown and milk flow, (breastfeeding), is triggered and controlled by the conscious and subconscious brain.
As complex as this may sound, these eleven things must occur before a woman can letdown and breastfeed, (as well as increase her milk supply), regardless of whether her milk is the result of pregnancy and childbirth, or having been induced.
1. There must be a recognizable need for milk. Breast milk is mostly water, and the human body is genetically predisposed to protect its self against unnecessary loss of water, (dehydration). If there is no true and recognizable need for milk, the brain will prevent lactation to protect the body from unnecessary loss of life essential fluids. Related example: We only perspire when it’s hot, and when it’s cool, the brain blocks water secretion through the sweat glands/pores to protect the body from dehydration. Gift of Milk, click here. Milk producing cells, (mammary alveoli), are similar in function to sweat glands, and the subconscious will allow milk flow only when there is a true and necessary need for milk.
2. There must be both physical and mental/emotional stimulation transmitted to the brain via sensory input. This sensory input, (via one or more of the five senses), can be in the form of feeling your nipple being suckled, seeing/hearing a hungry baby cry, hearing an adult ask for your milk, or realizing/knowing a circumstance exists where there is a real need for milk, (such as it is time to pump).
3. The conscious brain must process this sensory input into coherent thought. The conscious brain must recognize this sensory input as a genuine need for milk. (As opposed to foreplay, which produces a similar sensation of the nipple/areola when stimulated orally) Even though oral stimulation during foreplay may feel similar to being suckled, the subconscious brain generally does not recognize this form of physical stimulation as a true need for milk.
4. The conscious brain must transmit what it perceives to be a genuine need for milk to the subconscious.
5. In turn, the subconscious must recognize this mental, emotional, physical stimulation as a true need for milk, then transmit this processed information to the mid-brain, (the portion of the brain that regulates autonomous body functions).
6. The mid-brain must then stimulate the hypothalamus, (and other related organs in the brain), to increase secretion of the chemical neurotransmitter dopamine. The purpose of the increased secretion of dopamine is to inhibit/block the dopamine receptors at the pituitary gland. The mid-brain does not think, it only responds to sensory input by one or more of the five senses, processed into thought, (coherent information), by the conscious and subconscious brain.
7. Having been stimulated by the increased secretion of dopamine, the pituitary gland must in turn increase secretion of the milk essential hormones prolactin and oxytocin into the bloodstream. At the same time, the pituitary gland, (the master gland of the endocrine system), must also regulate other glands in the endocrine system, (such as the thyroid gland, etc.), to create the proper hormonal balance necessary for lactation.
8. The hormones prolactin and oxytocin must make their way to the mammary glands and milk ducts via the bloodstream.
9. Where prolactin must stimulate the alveoli, (individual milk producing cells), to produce milk, oxytocin must stimulate the milk ducts to initiate letdown. Simultaneously, the brain must stimulate both the alveoli and milk ducts, (via the nervous system), to start milk flowing toward the nipple.
10. There also must be some kind of continued physical stimulation of the nipple/areola, such as suckling, hand expression or pumping to complete the process. Milk flow will continue only as long as the nipple/areola is being stimulated properly.
11. Also to increase milk production, there must be a continually increasing demand for more milk. A woman’s milk supply will increase only when there is an increasing demand for more milk. When there is no increasing demand for more milk, a woman’s milk supply will remain static. And when there is no demand for milk at all, her breasts will dry up. The desire to lactate is not enough, there must be a true need for milk.
There are other steps involved in the process, such as proper nutrition, adequate rest, minimal emotional stress, etc.; however, this is basically what must happen before a woman can lactate and breastfeed. These generalized steps outlined are no scientific secret; rather, this is common knowledge. Many of you probably understand this process better than I; however, for clarity in this essay, this process needed to be reiterated.
Obviously, every woman can consciously recognize the need for milk by sight, sound or touch. And the process from the mid-brain to the mammary gland is an autonomous body function, and being so, does not require an inordinate amount of time or attention. Read more at Gift of Milk, click here now. However, if you can produce milk with Domperidone, (but cannot produce milk without Domperidone), the problem is not in your inability to consciously recognize a true need for milk, nor is it in your autonomic body functions, (mid-brain); rather, the problem is a conflict between your conscious mind and your subconscious. Just because you desire something consciously, doesn’t mean your subconscious will let you do it.
For example: If you should for some unknown reason decide to stick your hand in a fire, your subconscious fear of being burned will prevent you from placing your hand in the fire. Metaphorically, you might think of the conscious mind as living by whim and fancy, while the subconscious mind lives by rigid rules that governs our physical actions. If your innate subconscious rules do not match your conscious desires, you will not lactate.
When we are born, (with the exception of certain innate instincts), our brain is a virtual blank slate, and being so, we have to learn how to be human beings as we grow up. For example: a baby is born with the innate instinct to consume food, but not of what to eat, or where to get food. A baby will accept either the breast and mother’s milk, or the nipple of a bottle and baby formula. There’s more to see, click here. It is not born with the knowledge to accept one and reject the other. It has to be taught what food is and where it comes from. Once the baby learns where food comes from, and what to eat, this knowledge becomes part of its innate subconscious mental process. It doesn’t have to be re-taught every day where to get food, nor does it consciously think about how to latch onto the nipple. It does it subconsciously.
Learning to be human doesn’t stop in infancy. From birth to adulthood, (and beyond), we develop our subconscious self-identity, (who we are to be as adults), through formal education and social interaction with our peers. A child growing up in the United States will have a different subconscious self-identity, (personality), than a child growing up in a mid-eastern country. Our subconscious self-identity is the result of the cultural/social environment in which we grow up.
Previously, I mentioned Margaret Mead, (American anthropologist, 1901-1978), observing women in New Guinea in 1935, who had recently breast fed, but were subsequently dry at the time, relactating to breastfeed newborns. Even though they were dry at the time, their milk came back within hours.
Consider how these women are raised. From birth, these women were raised to be wives and mothers. They were never taught to be independent and earn their own income. They were never taught that breasts are for beauty and sex. From childhood, they were taught by social interaction that breasts are for breast feeding babies. They were never taught anything but how to be wives and mothers. Click here, Gift of Milk. This became their subconscious self-identity. When a child needed breast fed, their subconscious self-identity was programmed to relactate and breastfeed.
Now consider what you learned while growing up; what your subconscious believes an adult woman should be. Or perhaps more accurately, what an adult woman should not be. Over the past five decades, (through social interaction and media), young girls growing up have been taught that is not necessary to breastfeed. Babies can be bottle fed. And certainly, no one ever taught a child that it is OK, (or even possible), to induce lactation outside of pregnancy. For more inducing lactation information, click here. The breast its self has been epitomized by society for sexual beauty; however, if that same breast should be milky, it is taboo. Even some men believe that tasting milk during foreplay is disgusting.
In the western world, the average female subconscious self-identity was never programmed to lactate outside of pregnancy and childbirth, and being so, the subconscious cannot transmit information to the mid-brain that it does not have. And for most women, here is the disconnect that prevents lactation and breastfeeding outside of pregnancy.
I have found if these essays are too long, they become boring, and being the case I am going to stop here. In my next post, I will farther discuss this disconnect between the conscious mind and the subconscious, and how to overcome it.
With Regards, Hudson