When Will Your Milk Come In?
Whether this is your first baby or you’re a pro at breastfeeding, there is always the question about when your milk will come in. After your baby has been born, your body will produce “colostrum.”
Colostrum is considered to be pre-milk and is the forerunner to your actual breast milk. Colostrum is different for each woman.
Some women will have colostrum that is watery and thin while others will have colostrum that is yellow and thick. No matter what your colostrum looks like it’s important to your baby’s health.
This is because colostrum contains substances that boost your baby’s immune system. These substances are found in baby formula.
Even though your milk hasn’t yet come in, colostrum lets your baby get the hang of nursing and learn how to coordinate her swallowing, breathing, and sucking.
Change from Colostrum to Breast Milk
Once you’ve been nursing for about three to four days your breasts will start to feel firmer as your milk changes from being colostrum to being breast milk.
It will take about 10 to 14 days for your milk to become “mature” breast milk. The amount of milk that your body produces will increase depending on how your baby is nursing.
The more you breastfeed the more milk your body is going to provide.
Caesarean Section and Breast Milk
If you’ve given birth by Caesarean section it might take a bit longer for your milk to come in. This is completely normal so don’t be concerned when it seems that all you’re providing for your baby is colostrum.
For the first few days after your baby has been born, she’ll be okay just nursing when you only have colostrum.
Keep your doctor informed since if your milk supply still doesn’t come in after about four days you may have to supplement with formula.
To get your milk to come in it’s important that you nurse your baby as often as possible.
Get Plenty of Rest
During the first few days after your baby’s birth be sure to get as much rest as you can. This is a time for you and your baby to bond and for her to learn how to nurse efficiently.
As mentioned previously, you’ll need to nurse as often as you can. Many babies are very sleepy in the first few days after birth and this can make it difficult for you to get her to nurse for longer than a minute at a time.
Do what you can to keep her awake and encourage her to nurse even if she doesn’t seem interested. In order for your milk to come in, there needs to be a demand.
You’ll only achieve this by having your baby suckle at your breasts whenever you can.
Avoiding Formula Supplements
Giving your baby formula in the first couple weeks after she’s born can lead to problems if you want to breastfeed.
The biggest problem is that giving her formula is going to decrease your milk supply and might delay it from going from colostrum to mature breast milk.
The formula takes longer for your baby to digest than breast milk so she’ll stay full for longer periods of time.
This means that she won’t want to nurse as often as she should in order to stimulate your breasts to produce plenty of milk.
Many babies develop digestive problems or allergies when they are given formula in the first few weeks of life. The longer you wait to give your baby formula the better it’s going to be.
No matter how painful your nipples are it’s important that you breastfeed every couple of hours so that your milk comes in as quickly as possible.
Avoid Pacifiers and Bottles
By now you know that your milk is going to come in faster the more your baby nurses. This means that you need to avoid introducing pacifiers and bottles to her during the first couple of weeks after birth.
Even though some babies are able to switch from the bottle to the breast without skipping a beat, most babies go through what is known as “nipple confusion”.
Sucking from a bottle is much easier for your baby than sucking from your breast. Many babies become lazy after drinking from a bottle and refuse to take the breast since it’s too much work for them.
Establish Good Nursing Habits
The best thing that you can do, even before your milk comes in, is to establish good nursing habits with your baby. Start nursing as soon as you can after giving birth.
Even if your baby doesn’t at first latch on to your nipple, keep trying. Practice will make perfect when it comes to breastfeeding.
Make sure that she latches on with a mouth that is wide open so that your areola is in her mouth and not just the tip of your nipple. Find a breastfeeding position that is comfortable for both of you.
Being committed to breastfeeding means that you have to be patient in the first few days after giving birth as you wait for your milk to come in.