Some facts about lactation

  • Lactation is the giving of milk by mammals.
  • In humans the process of feeding milk is called breastfeeding or nursing.
  • Before pregnant mammals give birth to their young, milk begins to form in the mother's mammary glands.
  • Certain chemicals called hormones stimulate cells in the mammary glands to produce milk.
  • Lactation begins as soon as the infant is born. Young mammals feed on milk until they are able to get food by themselves.
  • Milk contains substances necessary for growth, such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. After a while, other hormones stop the milk production.
  • The lactation period varies in different species (kinds) of mammals. For example, the lactation period lasts about 10 months in cows, and about 2 years in walruses. When the mammal becomes pregnant again, the lac­tation period begins once more.
  • The platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) releases milk through ducts in its abdomen. The platypus is a non-placental mammal).
  • Galactorrhea is the spontaneous flow of milk from the breast, unassociated with childbirth or nursing.