let down reflex

What is a Let-Down Reflex?

A let-down reflex or milk ejection reflex is a conditioned reflex that ejects milk from the alveoli through the ducts to the sinuses of the breasts and the nipple. This reflex makes it easier to breastfeed your baby. 

Let-down happens a few seconds to several minutes after you start breastfeeding your baby. It can also happen a few times during the feeding. Let-down can happen at other times, too, such as when you hear your baby cry or when you are thinking about your baby.

You may feel a tingle or slight discomfort in your breast, but some women don’t feel anything.

If your milk lets down as a gush and it bothers your baby, try expressing some milk by hand before you start breastfeeding.

Updated June 6, 2016

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