The structure of the breast
- Each breast has lobes of glands where the milk is made.
- These glands contain clusters of alveoli — little hollow sacks with milk-making cells around the outside and the milk in the centre.
- From these alveoli run tubes, called ducts, which carry the milk towards the nipple.
- The milk flows from these ducts out through tiny openings in the nipple.
The size of the breast is not related to how well it can make milk.
- The breast is made up of fatty and support tissue as well as milk-making glands.
- Women store different amounts of milk in their breasts.
- This is not necessarily related to overall breast size.
- This may affect how often women need to breastfeed their babies.
- A woman with a smaller storage volume may need to feed her baby more often than a woman with a larger storage volume.
- However, both women will make about the same amount of milk each day.
- It is also common for a mother to have a different amount of storage in one breast compared to the other. She may find her baby spends longer feeding on one side than the other. This is perfectly normal.
- Babies born to the same mother sometimes have very different feeding patterns.
- Breast storage volume is only one factor in how often a baby feeds.
Breastfeeding: breast and nipple care
Breastfeeding: Breast and Nipple Care tells you what to expect as your breasts change during pregnancy and briefly covers how breastfeeding works.
© Australian Breastfeeding Association Reviewed October 2012