The process of milk production. Human milk is secreted by the mammary glands, which are located within the fatty tissue of the breast. The hormone oxytocin is produced in response to the birth of a new baby, and it both stimulates uterine contractions and begins the lactation process. For the first few hours of nursing, a special fluid called colostrum is delivered, which is especially high in nutrients, fats, and antibodies to protect the newborn from infection. Thereafter the amount of milk produced is controlled primarily by the hormone prolactin, which is produced in response to the length of time the infant nurses at the breast. See also breastfeeding.
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1. Production of milk. 2. Period following birth during which milk is secreted in the breasts. [L. lactatio, suckle]

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lac·ta·tion lak-'tā-shən n
1) the secretion and yielding of milk by the mammary gland
2) one complete period of lactation extending from about the time of parturition to weaning
lac·ta·tion·al -shən-əl adj
lac·ta·tion·al·ly adv

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the secretion of milk by the mammary gland of the breasts, which usually begins at the end of pregnancy. A fluid called colostrum is secreted before the milk is produced; both secretions are released in response to the sucking action of the infant on the nipple. Lactation is controlled by hormones (see prolactin, oxytocin); it stops when the baby is no longer fed at the breast.

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lac·ta·tion (lak-taґshən) [L. lactatio, from lactare to suckle] 1. the secretion of milk. 2. the period of secretion of milk.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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  • lactation — [ laktasjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1623; bas lat. lactatio ♦ Physiol. Sécrétion et écoulement du lait chez la femme et les femelles des mammifères après la parturition. La prolactine, hormone de la lactation. Par ext. Période de l allaitement (chez les… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • lactation — 1660s, process of suckling an infant, from Fr. lactation, from L.L. lactationem (nom. lactatio) a suckling, noun of action from pp. stem of lactare suckle, from lac (gen. lactis) milk, from PIE root *glakt (Cf. Gk. gala, gen. galaktos, milk …   Etymology dictionary

  • Lactation — Lac*ta tion, n. The secretion and yielding of milk by the mammary gland; giving suck. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Lactatĭon — (v. lat.), 1) die Absonderung der Milch in den Brustdrüsen; 2) Ernährung mit Milch; 3) Säugung …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

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  • lactation — ► NOUN 1) the secretion of milk by the mammary glands. 2) the suckling of young …   English terms dictionary

  • lactation — [lak tā′shən] n. [LL lactatio: see LACTATE] 1. the secretion of milk by a mammary gland 2. the period during which milk is secreted 3. the suckling of young lactational adj …   English World dictionary

  • Lactation — Kittens nursing Lactation of …   Wikipedia

  • lactation — lactational, adj. lactationally, adv. /lak tay sheuhn/, n. 1. the secretion or formation of milk. 2. the period of milk production. [1660 70; < LL lactation (s. of lactatio) a giving suck. See LACTATE1, ION] * * * Production of milk by female… …   Universalium

  • Lactation — La lactation est une fonction physiologique de la femme et des femelles de mammifères qui se traduit par la sécrétion de lait par les glandes mammaires après la parturition. La lactation est déclenchée et entretenue par une hormone produite par l …   Wikipédia en Français

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