Skip to main content

Anatomy and Physiology of Breastfeeding

  • Chapter
Clinician’s Guide to Breastfeeding
  • 1746 Accesses

Abstract

This chapter will review the anatomy and physiology of breastfeeding. There are key anatomic factors to consider in the infant and breast anatomy regarding breastfeeding. Maternal hormonal effects and regulation determine milk supply in a time dependent manner. Milk composition varies through time, in its nutritional and cellular components.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 64.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 84.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

References

  • AAP: American Academy of Pediatrics: Vitamin D supplementation for infants. 2010. https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/Vitamin-D-Supplementation-for-Infants.aspx. Accessed 21 Mar 2015.

  • Ballard O, Morrow AL. Human milk composition and bioactive factors. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2013;60(1):49–74.

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Berry CA, Thomas EC, Piper KME, Cregan MD. The histology and cytology of the human mammary gland and breastmilk. In: Hartmann PE, Hale TW, editors. Textbook of human lactation. Amarillo: Hale; 2007. p. 43–54.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bissell MJ, Weaver VM, Lelievre SA, Wang F, Petersen OW, Schmeichel KL. Tissue structure, nuclear organization, and gene expression in normal and malignant breast. Cancer Res. 1999;59:1757–64.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Burch D. Digging up the dead: uncovering the life and times of an extraordinary surgeon. London: Vintage; 2010.

    Google Scholar 

  • Christensen K, Nielsen MO, Bauer R, Hilden K. Evaluation of mammary blood flow measurements in lactating goats using the ultrasound Doppler principle. Comp Biochem Physiol A Comp Physiol. 1989;92:385–92.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Cooper AP. On the anatomy of the breast. 1840. http://jdc.jefferson.edu/cooper/. Accessed 21 Mar 2015.

  • Courtiss EH, Goldwyn RM. Breast sensation before and after plastic surgery. Plast Reconstr Surg. 1976;58(1):1–13.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Cowie AT. Overview of the mammary gland. J Invest Dermatol. 1974;63:2–9.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Cox DB, Owens RA, Hartmann PE. Blood and milk prolactin and the rate of milk synthesis in women. Exp Physiol. 1996;81:1007–20.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Cox DB, Kent JC, Casey TM, Owens RA, Hartmann PE. Breast growth and the urinary excretion of lactose during human pregnancy and early lactation: endocrine relationships. Exp Physiol. 1999;84(2):421–34.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Cregan MD, Mitoulas LR, Hartmann PE. Milk prolactin, feed volume, and duration between feeds in women breastfeeding their full-term infants over a 24-hour period. Exp Physiol. 2002;87:207–14. doi:10.1113/eph8702327.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Czank C. Hormonal control of the lactation cycle. In: Hale TW, Hartmann PE, editors. Textbook of human lactation. Amarillo: Hale; 2007.

    Google Scholar 

  • Daly SEJ, Owens RA, Hartmann PE. The short-term synthesis and infant-regulated removal of milk in lactating women. Exp Physiol. 1993;78:209–20.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Doucet S, Soussignan R, Sagot P, Schaal B. The secretion of areolar (montgomery’s) glands from lactating women elicits selective, unconditional responses in neonates. PLoS One. 2009;4(10):e7579.

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Drewett RF, Bowen-Jones A, Dogterom J. Oxytocin levels during breast-feeding in established lactation. Horm Behav. 1982;16:245–8.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Gardner H, Kent JC, Hartmann PE, Geddes DT. Asynchronous milk ejection in human lactating breast: case series. J Hum Lact. 2015. doi:10.1177/0890334414568120.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Geddes DT. The use of ultrasound to identify milk ejection in women – tips and pitfalls. Int Breastfeed J. 2009;4:5. doi:10.1186/1746-4358-4-5.

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hartmann PE. The breast and breastfeeding. In: Philipp EE, Setchell M, Ginsburg J, editors. Scientific foundations of obstetrics and gynaecology. 4th ed. Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann; 1991.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hassiotou F, Geddes D. Anatomy of the human mammary gland: current status of knowledge. Clin Anat. 2013;26(1):29–48.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hassiotou F, Geddes DT, Hartmann PE. Cells in human milk: state of the science. J Hum Lact. 2013;29(2):171–82. doi:10.1177/0890334413477242.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Isbister C. A clinical study of the draught reflex in human lactation. Arch Dis Child. 1954;29(143):66–72.

    Article  PubMed Central  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Jacobs LS. The role of prolactin in mammogenesis and lactogenesis. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1977;80:173–91.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kent JC, Mitoulas LR, Cregan MD, Geddes DT, Larsson M, Doherty DA, Hartmann PE. Importance of vacuum for breast milk expression. Breastfeed Med. 2008;3(1):11–9.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Linzell JL. Mammary-gland blood flow and oxygen, glucose and volatile fatty acid uptake in the conscious goat. J Physiol. 1960;153:492–509.

    Article  PubMed Central  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Macfarlane AJ. Olfaction in the development of social preferences in human neonate. Ciba Found Symp. 1975;33:103–17.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Makin JW, Porter RH. Attractiveness of lactating female’s breast odors to neonates. Child Dev. 1989;60:803–10.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • McNeilly AS, Robinson ICAF, Houston MJ, Howie PW. Release of oxytocin and prolactin in response to suckling. Br Med J. 1983;286:257–9.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Moffat DF, Going JJ. Three dimensional anatomy of complete duct systems in human breast: pathological and developmental implications. J Clin Pathol. 1996;49(1):48–52.

    Article  PubMed Central  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Neville MC, McFadden TB, Forsyth I. Hormonal regulation of mammary differentiation and milk secretion. J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2002;7(1):49–66.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Pang WW, Hartmann PE. Initiation of human lactation: secretory differentiation and secretory activity. J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2007;12(4):211–21.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Peaker M, Wilde CJ. Feedback control of milk secretion from milk. J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 1996;1(3):307–15.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Perrine CG, Sharma AJ, Jefferds MED, Serdula MK, Scanlon KS. Adherence to vitamin D recommendations among US infants. Pediatrics. 2010;125(4):627–32.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Prime DK, Geddes DT, Hartmann PE. Oxytocin: milk ejection and maternal-infant well-being. In: Hale T, Hartmann PE, editors. Textbook of human lactation. 1st ed. Amarillo: Hale; 2007. p. 141–58.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ramsay DT, Mitoulas LR, Kent JC, Larsson M, Hartmann PE. The use of ultrasound to characterize milk ejection in women using an electric breast pump. J Hum Lact. 2005;21(4):421–8.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Russell MJ. Human olfactory communication. Nature. 1976;260:520–2.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Sanches MT. Clinical management of oral disorders in breastfeeding. J Pediatr (Rio J). 2004;80(5 Suppl):S155–62.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schaal B, Montagner H, Hertling E, Bolzoni D, Moyse R, et al. Olfactory stimulations in mother-infant relationships. Reprod Nutr Dev. 1980;20:843–58.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Soussignan R, Schaal B, Marlier L, Jiang T. Facial and autonomic responses to biological and artificial olfactory stimuli in human neonates: re-examining early hedonic discrimination of odors. Physiol Behav. 1997;62:745–58.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Sternlicht MD. Key stages in mammary gland development: the cues that regulate ductal branching morphogenesis. Breast Cancer Res. 2006;8(1):201.

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Sullivan RM, Toubas P. Clinical usefulness of maternal odor in newborns: soothing and feeling preparatory responses. Biol Neonate. 1998;74:402–8.

    Article  PubMed Central  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Suzuki R, Atherton AJ, O’Hare MJ, Entwistle A, Lakhani SR, Clarke C. Proliferation and differentiation in the human breast during pregnancy. Differentiation. 2000;66:106–15.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Uvnas-Moberg K, Widstrom AM, Nissen E, Björvell H. Personality traits in women 4 days post partum and their correlation with plasma levels of oxytocin and prolactin. J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 1990;11:261–73.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Varendi H, Porter RH. Breast odour as the only maternal stimulus elicits crawling towards the odour source. Acta Paediatr. 2001;90:372–5.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Watson CJ, Khaled WT. Mammary development in the embryo and adult: a journey of morphogenesis and commitment. Development. 2008;135(6):995–1003.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Wilde CJ, Addey CV, Bryson JM, Finch LM, Knight CH, Peaker M. Autocrine regulation of milk secretion. Biochem Soc Symp. 1998;63:81–90.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Wiseman BS, Werb Z. Stromal effects on mammary gland development and breast cancer. Science. 2002;296(5570):1046–9.

    Article  PubMed Central  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Young 3rd WS, Shepard E, Amico J, Hennighausen L, Wagner KU, LaMarca ME, McKinney C, Ginns EI. Deficiency in mouse oxytocin prevents milk ejection, but not fertility or parturition. J Neuroendocrinol. 1996;8(11):847–53.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2015 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Dahl, L. (2015). Anatomy and Physiology of Breastfeeding. In: Clinician’s Guide to Breastfeeding. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-18194-3_2

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-18194-3_2

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-18193-6

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-18194-3

  • eBook Packages: MedicineMedicine (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics