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Thread: Labour and Milk Supply

  1. #1

    Default Labour and Milk Supply

    Not really sure where to put this one, because it fits in a few categories.

    At one of my antenatal classes the midwife was discussing how labour/contractions are triggered and maintained by oxytocin, which is produced in the pituitary gland.
    Then at my breastfeeding class, it was also discussed how oxytocin is also responsible for let down and milk. When i mentioned how i had oversupply with DD, the LC said this is because my pituitary gland must release too much oxytocin and so i create an abundance of milk.

    Now it got me thinking, whether there is a link between speed of labour and oversupply/undersupply in breastfeeding?



    For me i had a relatively quick labour for a first baby, roughly 5 1/2 hours start to finish with contractions starting at 5 min apart. Then i also had oversupply with breastfeeding.

    Iím interested to know if others are the same? Did you have a fast-ish labour and then oversupply or lots of milk? Did you have a slow labour and have undersupply? Or did you have one of each?

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Labour and Milk Supply

    With breastfeeding I thought the hormone prolactin (which is produced by the pituitary gland) is primarily responsible for milk supply. Nipple stimulation produces oxytocin however which stimulates the uterus to contract so can help after Bub is born to stop bleeding

  3. #3

    Default Re: Labour and Milk Supply

    I think both are required for breastfeeding. One is from the anterior pituitary gland and the other from the posterior part. From what i understand the prolactin is what helps produce the milk but oxytocin is required for let down and to release the milk. As i understood it (which could be wrong as my brain isnt 100 percent at the moment ) if the oxytocin isnt working properly, the let down reflex wont work properly which means the milk wont be sufficiently removed and regulated causing supply issues?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Labour and Milk Supply

    Dd1 was a 8.5 hour labour , I had plenty of milk and never had any problems . She was BF for 32 months

    DD2 I had a 1.5 hour labour , she is now 5.5 months , I have plenty of milk and have never had a problem with BF

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Labour and Milk Supply

    DD1 was 7hrs labour with over supply and DD2 was 5.5hrs also over supply

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Labour and Milk Supply

    Not sure. DD1 was 6 hours, had oversupply. DD2 was 6.5 hours and I had a massive oversupply, much more than the first time, which was still substantial.

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Labour and Milk Supply

    Yeah, you're right, oxytocin is involved in milk ejection. prolactin is the hormone involved in milk production. I'm not aware of any research in this area I would think that if there's a hormonal reason for the oversupply, then it would be prolactin, however.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Labour and Milk Supply

    Quick labour (2.5 hrs active) and always heaps of milk here. Would def correlate with me.

    But then, my hormones have always been somewhat rampant when it comes to reproduction.

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Labour and Milk Supply

    Ooh that's interesting! I had a really long labour here (45hrs active) and huge oversupply.

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Labour and Milk Supply

    6 hrs with DD1 and low milk supply - had to pump and comp feed until 16 weeks while also taking Motilium.

    DD 37 minute active labour and normal-ish milk supply but certainly not an abundance. I gave her top ups of EBM quite regularly. I took Motilium for about a month with DD2 while I exclusively pumped due to nipple damage from her tongue tie.

  11. #11

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    Default Re: Labour and Milk Supply

    I have relatively quick labors (6 hrs and 4 hrs) and a very good supply.

  12. #12

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    Default Re: Labour and Milk Supply

    My total Labour was about 13hrs, active Labour (3cm+) was only about 3hrs, I never had any troubles with milk supply, but nevee had oversupply. Very much average

  13. #13

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    Default Re: Labour and Milk Supply

    DD was 22 hours, 5 or 6 being active: huge oversupply (ouch!)

    DS was hard to say - a week really, but only 2.5 hours or less active: good supply but I was tandem feeding so never got the oversupply feeling.

    I would think milk production would be more related to prolactin too, although I can see how the release of milk would also relate to supply (thinking of the baby accessing and draining breast).

    I definitely found breastfeeding during labour really helped ramp things up (in fact it probably tipped me into active labour), but that is a well-known correlation between nipple stimulation and labour, I think there are lots of things that regulate milk supply including the strength of baby's suck and attachment.

    Both my babies had killer sucking ability and good instinct for attachment. Unhindered birth, natural third stage, lots of skin on skin and lots of support meant good milk supply in my case I think.

  14. #14

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    Default Re: Labour and Milk Supply

    That's super interesting, I wonder what it means for caesarean babies? I've had three c-sections and every time I had over supply of milk. I never went into active labour, my first was 10 days over & after 36hrs of induction I only got to 2.5cm... I do have thyroid issues though, so would that have helped compensate for the zero labour factor?

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