Let-down is a natural reaction that occurs during breastfeeding. You typically experience this feeling when your baby latches onto your breast and start sucking. The let-down reflex is associated with hormones such as prolactin and oxytocin which are responsible for making more and releasing breast milk respectively.
The major signs and symptoms of let-down include tingling or warm sensation in your breasts when your baby is latching. Your breasts may also leak and you may notice milk dripping out of your baby’s mouth. In the early weeks following childbirth, let-down can be felt as menstrual-like cramps in the uterus. Above all, your baby’s weight gain is also an indication of having a good breast milk production.
While most women experience let-down, others may not feel their milk letting down. Some women may also experience it earlier after childbirth, but lesser as time goes by. Well, if you do not experience let-downs at all, it doesn’t necessarily mean something serious is wrong with you. There is truly nothing to worry about as long as your child is getting enough breast milk and growing well.
That said, not feeling let down may be an indication that your breast milk is low. If this is the case, you may consider consulting with a lactation expert to help you in boosting breast milk production. A combination of lifestyle or stress factors can also cause slow or delayed let-down. For example, smoking, alcohol and caffeine can result in low breast milk. Cold temperatures, stress and fatigue may also result in slow or difficult let-down.
Unfortunately, your baby is the one to bear the brunt of a slow or difficult led-down as it can really be frustrating to a hungry baby. Here are some tips to stimulate milk let-down:
- Taking a warm bath before breastfeeding or pumping milk;
- Placing a warm cloth on your breast with massage before breastfeeding or pumping;
- Staying relaxed and stress-free throughout your nursing phase;
- Gently massaging your breast before breastfeeding or pumping;
- Having skin-to-skin contact with your baby prior nursing;
- Drinking enough fluids, notably water and natural juices to keep you hydrated;
- Limiting your intake of coffee and soda;
- Avoid drinking alcohol;
- Looking or thinking about your baby while you are pumping milk
- Avoid smoking.
Generally, feeling let-down will give you an indicator that your body is producing breastmilk. However, although you are feeling let down and feeding your baby well, you should consult lactation expert if you noticed your baby is not gaining weight well.