Ongoing, long-term milk production
depends mostly on milk removal by nursing or pumping. The more often milk is removed,
and the more completely it is removed, the more milk the breasts make. The opposite
also true. When milk is removed less often, or an insufficient amount is removed,
breasts get the signal to slow milk production and make less. Milk removal occurs
baby effectively breastfeeds or you are pumping frequently to keep your breasts
Breastfeeding requires effective
sucking by the baby so that enough milk is transferred from the breast into the baby's
mouth where it is swallowed. To suck, a baby must latch deeply onto the breast and
the structures in their mouth to create intermittent suction and squeeze milk into
mouth. Proper sucking signals the mother's body to release the hormone oxytocin. With
the release of oxytocin, your milk will "let down." This is the term used to describe
the flow of milk from the breasts.
So if your baby is premature or
sick and unable to remove milk effectively enough to stimulate and maintain your milk
production, you will need to express milk until they are stronger.