- You know how, when your milk comes in, like, right before it comes in, you get like this tingly Spidey sense all around you, like something's gonna happen, and then you feel it coming.
(rousing music begins) - [Alok] I don't know.
- You don't?
I bet you know what's happening, though, like, from a medical standpoint.
'Cause I don't know that I only know that Spidey sense - find the baby, but what, what is medically, biologically happening?
(nursery music begins) - [Alok] So, the mammary glands actually will start developing during pregnancy, and, a, a specialist that gave me this analogy, which totally makes sense to me now.
So, she said the mammary glands start out like a tree in winter with no foliage.
- [Bethany] Oh!
- [Alok] And then - [Bethany] Oh!
- [Alok] during pregnancy, the foliage starts to expand, so, now the mammary gland is growing, and it's ready to produce and deliver milk by the time baby is ready to feed.
- I love it!
I, eyes on my face, not my milk trees.
- [Alok] So in the early days after you deliver your baby, milk production is driven by hormones.
When the placenta leaves the body, the levels of a few hormones drops significantly, estrogen, progesterone, and human placental lactogen.
Now, high levels of progesterone tell the body to keep milk production dialed down during pregnancy, basically blocking your milk production hormone called prolactin.
It's like the estrogen and the progesterone are saying, "Get ready, get set, but don't make the milk until we leave."
So, when they eventually do leave, and prolactin levels remain high, that's when milk production begins.
You start making milk for your baby, and in the first few days you make, like, the early version of milk, which just called colostrum.
- Oh my gosh, colostrum is so interesting!
It's like a superfood or something.
- When did your milk change from colostrum to transitional milk to full volume milk?
- You're super asking me like I have brain cells left from that time period.
I don't know, it came in.
- It's a good point.
(Bethany laughs) - How, how's this?
Soon after that, it came in.
- I, I recognize this, - But it was, I remember what it was like, though.
But I remember it was, like, a little bit more yellowy.
- [Alok] It's got the proteins and fats, and carbohydrates, but more importantly, it has all the antibodies and things to support your baby's immune system in those first few days.
Breast milk also really help with making sure that baby's gut bacteria is growing appropriately and they're not getting infections.
It also has something that prevents the growth of bad bacteria, like E.coli or salmonella, while promoting the growth of good bacteria, which is great for the baby's microbiome.
- [Bethany] I'd like to say that, microbiome.
In this corner, (Alok laughs) breast milk!
(bell rings) (crowd cheers) (Bethany laughs) - So this stuff, this stuff is awesome.
You know, and then these early days of breastfeeding is also, there's also some benefits for moms as well, because it helps with uterine contraction.
It costs about 500 calories a day to produce breast milk.
Breastfeeding may reduce the likelihood of moms getting certain types of cancers, such as ovarian or breast cancer.
Another big thing to talk about is medications.
First of all, there's obviously tons of medications, and some of them can pass her breast milk, some don't.
And again, it's really important that you just chat with your doctor if you have a certain condition that requires medication.
Do not forego the medication because your, treating yourself is actually really important.
- It is a scary thing, though.
- You have to make sure- - It's definitely, you know?
- Like, you, you get prescribed something and you wonder, "Is this getting into my baby's milk?"
- So, but I, yes.
Follow the doctor's orders.
- Yeah, I mean, just ask, because remember, we need, when it comes to treating medical conditions, we need to make sure moms are healthy and present, so they can be there for their little babies.
- [Bethany] Yes!
- [Alok] And last but not least, because everyone's thinking this, alcohol and weed, how do they affect breast milk?
- But pump and dumps not a real thing, right?
Like, because I, (Alok laughs) I've run into moms who think that the alcohol is in this batch of milk and then they pump it and dump it, and then the next batch is okay, and that's not a thing.
- We just say, you know what?
If you wanna have a glass of wine because you earned it, I get it, do it.
But wait two to three hours after you have that before breastfeeding your child.
- [Bethany] Right.
- [Voiceover] Breast milk contains alcohol, as long as alcohol is still present in the mother's bloodstream.
Over time, your body breaks down the alcohol, and it leaves the bloodstream, therefore, it leaves breast milk.
- [Bethany] Just wait the amount of time, not pump and dump, right?
- Not pump and dump.
But let's talk about weed, THC can pass through breast milk.
It's probably best to avoid this if you're breastfeeding your baby.
I'm so sorry.
- So avoid it, unlike, unlike alcohol, just avoid it?
- You know, pediatrician hat on, we're just like, avoid it, don't do it.
- [Voiceover] THC isn't as quickly metabolized by the body as alcohol, trace amounts could remain in breast milk for weeks.
And while we need more data around the long-term effects of cannabis in kids, there is evidence that suggests THC consumption could impact a baby's brain and development.
There isn't comprehensive research on CBD use while breastfeeding, but the FDA does advise against it.
In the end, if you have any questions, chat with your doctor.
- Find out what's right for your family, make a choice for your family.
- I don't know how to end it.
(Alok laughs) (squirt sounds) - Is that good?
(Alok laughs) (outro music begins)