Breasts begin to develop at puberty. This is the most important organ where the hormones estrogen, progesterone and prolactin (link to glossary) play an important role. In pregnancy the glandular tissue matures completely for actual production of milk. The breasts lie over the pectoral muscles of the chest. It usually extends from the 2nd to 6th rib in mid–clavicular line.
The size and shape of the breasts keeps on varying in women during different periods of life. It greatly depends upon each person’s constitution and genetic make–up. Breasts do not contain any muscles, they are made of glandular tissue and fat.
Various Parts of the Breasts are:
Milk Glands Each breast is divided into 15–20 lobes which consists of fatty tissue. Inside each breast there are a number of milk–producing sacs. The milk production is same in every woman and does not depend upon the size of the breast.
Milk Ducts These ducts (lactiferous duct) connect the milk glands to the nipple. The total number of ducts is anywhere between 10–100. They carry the milk to the nipples.
Breast feeding is very vital for the infants’ well–being and for avoidance of infections. It should be avoided only in some rare serious conditions. Artificial feeding is safe only under good social environment, but if there is lack of hygiene the infant may suffer from gastroenteritis and malnutrition.