Click to listen to the audio…
Transcript of “Why breast feeding is ALWAYS easier the second time around”
Breast feeding may be natural, but sometimes it is difficult.
Struggling to breast feed can be disheartening……………….. so much so, that when baby number two arrives, Mom opts for formula, mistakenly believing that “THIS IS DESTINY”.
The milk production machine WILL work better, the second time around. The reason, the breast tissue KNOWS, what it is doing, because, it REMEMBERS what happened the last time.
This is what a group of researchers from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory discovered.
Milk factory assembly
The researchers embarked in a little hormonal trickery in two sets of mice. One set, had been Moms before, the other, had never been Moms.
The trickery involved inserting a special little pellet into the breast tissue. The pellet was designed to release hormones in such a way, as to simulate the hormonal changes of pregnancy.
Since the upgrading of the milk production system is driven by hormones, the trickery sparked frenetic activity – as multiple ducts were installed. Each of these nearly installed mammary gland ducts, is tasked with contributing to milk production, ensuring milk output is sufficient to meet baby’s nutritional needs.
The trickery worked in both sets of mice.
But it worked a whole lot quicker in the set of mice, who had a little previous experience.
Starting from scratch
If you’re thinking……………… well it should, breast feeding changes the structure of the breast.
No, it doesn’t.
At least not on the inside.
When breast feeding is complete, the milk machine is disassembled, completely. There is no difference in the appearance of breast tissue, it looks just the same as before pregnancy.
The official name for the process is INVOLUTION.
But, having experienced being part of the milk production team, leaves the individual breast epithelium cells different, on the inside.
The differences are recorded on the DNA.
There is an extra methyl group, here and there, these changes are epigenetic changes to the DNA. The tiny little check marks dotted across the DNA declare to the regulatory enzymes and proteins,
“I’ve been a MOM and I’m proud of it”
Milk production is a learned skill
These breast epithelium cells, are declaring they know what they are doing.
So, when the call comes again, to proliferate and differentiate in preparation for another baby – the response is more robust. Baby number 2 or baby number 3, 4, 5 or 6, benefits from the breast epithelium cells previous experience.
This is good news for Moms, breast feeding WILL be easier, because both you and your breast cells KNOW what to do.
But the good news doesn’t end here………..
It lasts a lifetime
The research team confirmed, breast cells NEVER forget their milk production days. The tiny changes are etched onto the DNA, permanently.
The epigenome of breast tissue in a MOM, is different.
And this difference seems to be protective.
Epidemiological studies suggest, being a Mom early in life, protects a women from breast cancer – this research explains how this happens.
Just do it
Breast feeding gives baby the best start possible – so just do it.
Genes are only part of the story. The presence or absence of a methyl group atop the cytosine nucleotide on your genes switches the gene’s light on and off.
The idea of BAD GENES and GOOD GENES is too simplistic. There is a gene-environment enigma, success is all about possessing the RIGHT gene for a particular environment.
Sleep deprived new Moms think “switching” to formula, especially for the night feed, helps keep baby satisfied and sleeping. Research shows they’re mistaken…