So, when do mothers start producing milk? Milk production actually begins during a woman’s pregnancy. In the time leading up to giving birth, the breasts are busy preparing to make milk and women often notice changes to their breasts. These changes during pregnancy may include: 1
- Tenderness and hypersensitivity
- Increase in breast size
- Larger and darker nipples
- Raised bumps around the areola
- Darkened veins on breasts
- Leaking of colostrum
How exactly is breast milk made? While the breasts are preparing to produce milk, there are two important hormones that are hard at work to make the milk: prolactin and oxytocin. The prolactin is what makes the milk and is activated when the nipple or areola is stimulated. The oxytocin hormone ejects the milk and is activated by a baby’s sound, smell, or sucking.
Throughout the pregnancy, breast milk is usually suppressed by progesterone until the mother gives birth, at which time the prolactin kicks in.