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Storage Capacity

Milk made between feedings is mostly stored in the ductules and alveoli. While the fat droplets generally stick to the sides of the alveoli, some of the watery portion of the milk drips forward and collects in the ductules for the next feeding. The maximum amount of milk that can be stored before the breast says “stop!” is a woman’s storage capacity and can vary widely from one woman to the next, and even one pregnancy to the next (according to baby’s gender and appetite, among other things); one study showed a range of 80 ml to 600 ml.(17)  In addition, storage capacity can change and often increases during the first few months depending upon baby’s demand.(18) The exterior size of the breast is not necessarily a good indicator of storage capacity; some small breasts are densely packed with glandular tissue, while some large breasts are only lightly populated with glands. It is the amount of well-developed glands inside the breast, rather than exterior breast size, that determines storage capacity.

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