Baby Calls The Shots
It has long been understood that the breast works on a demand and supply process—baby suckles at the breast to demand milk, and the body responds by supplying it to him (via milk ejection) and then replacing what he takes and making even more if baby keeps asking. Calibration, the body’s process of figuring out how much milk to make, is designed to be an infant-driven system. Your body responds to your individual baby with a supply that is tailored to your baby’s specific needs. This is why women may have very different breastfeeding and milk production experiences from one baby to the next; each is a new and unique situation. Similarly, some women may develop a larger milk supply on one side than the other, especially if baby favors one breast over the other. Interestingly, mothers of baby boys tend to produce more milk than mothers of baby girls, probably due to the fact that baby boys seem to grow a little faster and need a little more milk, thus creating a bigger milk supply in their mothers.(19)
The ability of a woman’s body to respond to baby’s milk-making signals depends not only on baby having access to the breast to send the signals, but also on mother’s body having well-functioning nerves to carry the signals from the breast to the brain for processing. It is truly an amazing, coordinated dance between a mother and her infant.