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Breastfeeding

Let’s talk Let-downs

I actually didn’t  know what a let-down was until I was weeks into my breastfeeding journey. No-one mentioned it? How did that happen? So if you’re pregnant and want to breastfeed I’m telling you all about it now. 


The let-down reflex makes milk available for your baby. The hormones prolactin and oxytocin release into your bloodstream to get milk flowing. Prolactin acts on the milk-making tissues. Oxytocin causes the breast to push out or ‘let down’ the milk. Oxytocin also makes the milk ducts widen, making it easier for the milk to flow down them (ABA, 2019).


So get those feel good hormones flowing and have a let-down!


  • Get someone to give you a neck and shoulder massage as you breastfeed or pump. 
  • Do a guided meditation. 
  • Look at pictures of your baby. 
  • Go to your happy place- whatever that looks like. 


Babies are really clever and leaving their hands free to massage or kneed your breast is important and will get those letdowns happening. 


If I ever feel like my let down is taking a long time I will close my eyes and visualise milk cascading over a waterfall. Am I really weird? Does anyone else do this? 


Everyone is different, but the most common ways of noticing a let down are:


  • a tingling feeling, like pins and needles
  • a feeling of sudden fullness
  • milk dripping from the other breast
  • a change in the baby’s sucking pattern from a quick suck-suck to a rhythmic suck-swallow pattern as the milk begins to flow (ABA, 2019).


You might get some/all/none of these.


When your baby is newborn you may also feel contractions as you let-down, especially if this is not your first baby (sorry- not fun). 


For more information on let-downs and all things breastfeeding go to www.australianbreastfeedingassociation.com


Breastfeeders- what does your let-down feel like?