October 5, 2022

Breastfeeding: The strong ejection reflex (REF), what is it?

The ejection reflex: a small lesson in the physiology of breastfeeding
When breastfeeding, the ejection reflex is quite natural and even essential, because it is he who will allow the milk to go out. "The ejection reflex is linked to the presence of two hormones, oxytocin and prolactin. Its power varies from one mother to another, "explains Carole Hervé. And to specify that during the same feeding, several ejection reflexes take place in order to maintain the flow of milk.

When the ejection reflex is too strong: REF (Strong Ejection Reflex)
In some moms - about one in two according to our specialist - a large production will go along with a powerful milk ejection. This phenomenon is described as the "strong ejection reflex". Sometimes even, the milk can be jet when the mum press gently on her breast! If most babies They will be able to cope well with an intense and continuous flow of milk, while others will find it more difficult to cope with it. The signs of his discomfort? " A baby who sucks quickly and loudly, or who needs to make burping during feeding, who lets go of the breast, or even pushes it away. Sometimes green stools, foamy, explosive, sign that the baby takes too much milk at the beginning of feeding, rich in lactose, and not enough milk of end of feed, more fat ", specifies Carole Hervé.

REF: the solutions
If the REF seems to be a problem for your little one, a few tips can usually reduce the intensity. The breastfeeding position first: give the breast extended, take baby straddling his knees with his head higher than the breast (not before his 15 days), testing the position "biological nurturing" (or position transat) or giving the feed vertically in a sling of portage, allows to improve the comfort of baby. Another tip experienced by many moms : Bring the first jet of milk by hand or by the breast pump. You can also give the same breast on several feedings, gradually, then move to the other breast.

"As a last resort, you can do total breast drainage every 3 weeks or so. It is a question of drawing a maximum of milk in order to recalibrate the rate of secretion, "adds the consultant. Finally, examine your plate: at some momsAlmonds and dairy products have the effect of boosting lactation. Also in case of REF, it is better to have a light hand on these foods.

In any case, if this REF harms the serenity of your feedingdo not hesitate to call on outside help (Leche League facilitator, IBCLC lactation consultant). And most importantly, keep confidence in yourself and your ability to feed your baby, your milk remains the best for him!

Carole Hervé's website:

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