Breastfeeding FAQs: When Will My Milk Come In?
Once your bundle of joy comes into the world, your breastmilk will follow a few days after. Not wanting to share the limelight, breastmilk usually comes in 3-4 days after vaginal delivery. Mums that deliver via c-section will
have to wait 5-10 days. Fear not! Don't let the panic sink in. "How will my baby go that many days without
getting milk?!" Your breasts are fully prepared for the milk delay. Colostrum is packed with antibodies, protein,
and carbohydrates. How could it get any better? It is already in your breasts prior to delivery! You may have
noticed the thick yellow/Orange type milk throughout your pregnancy. This form of milk is also going to help
your baby pass stool needed to excrete bilirubin, helping prevent jaundice.
In the hospital, a lactation consultant will usually stop in and check on you. Play it safe and ask for one to visit
you as soon as possible. They will help you with getting the baby latched onto your breast and show you a hold
or two. One common position is the "football hold." Maybe it was my lack of athletic ability but this hold seemed
very awkward. If any hold doesn't feel right, ask for help with a different position. You need to feel comfortable,
too! Being relaxed helps your milk to let down sooner. The "let-down" is used to describe the time when your
milk is released from the milk ducts. Watching videos online of other mothers nursing can be very helpful. As a
new mum, I needed a little more clarification than verbal directions.
Some positions to try are: cradle, cross cradle,football/clutch, side-lying, and laid back. The laid back position is also known as “biological nurturing.”
Gravity is your best friend with this position and it taps into your natural breastfeeding intuition. Yes, you have
it. Trust it! When I learned how to breastfeed while side-lying my whole world changed for the better. I was
exhausted so being able to relax my whole body while nursing was a welcomed reprieve. With any hold for
breastfeeding, you will want to lean slightly back and have your baby at nipple height. You and your baby
should also be stomach to stomach. In other words, hold your baby so that they do not have to turn their head
to reach your nipple. Your baby’s nose and chin will be touching your breast. Try to encourage your baby to
take a wide latch onto your nipple by placing your nipple just above their upper lip. You will fine tune your
process each feeding session and soon this will all be second nature.
Your baby will wake up at night. A lot. Babies are biologically programmed to do so. Ignore everyone who says
their baby sleeps through the night and the people who keep asking when your baby will sleep through that
night. They don't know what they are talking about and all it does is drive you crazy. Your breasts produce the
most DHA during the night. So babies are hard-wired to wake up to get that sweet brain boosting
milk. Newborns need more night feedings than older babies. Which means it will get better!
In The Beginning
There are many schedules floating around that will tell you when your baby should be eating. I, personally,
found this maddening. I was so worried that my breastfeeding sessions didn’t match up to what I saw online. It
only made me stressed. Finally, I realised that trusting my baby was the natural thing to do and breastfeeding
was made even simpler. Your baby will let you know when they are hungry. There are always cues that will
progress from beginning stages of hunger to frustration of being hungry. It is more difficult to get your baby to
latch on and nurse once they have reached the frustration phase. All the more reason to catch those hunger
signs early. Don’t beat yourself up if your baby ends up screaming and crying for milk. You are just getting to
know them and they are just getting to know the new process of being fed. Licking and smacking their lips is a
early cue that your baby wants milk. Rooting is a tale tell sign that your baby wants food and they are getting
impatient having to wait. Your baby will even root around looking for a breast on family, friends, strangers,
anyone who is holding them. For all they know, everyone is there to give them breastmilk. Crying and fussing
is part of the last stage of hunger. Your baby will need to be soothed before you can begin to nurse them. Be
sure to watch their arms and hands, too. Baby hands often find their way into their mouth when they start
Some mothers nurse on one side only and then switch to the other breast for the beginning of the next feeding.
I found this to be easier once my child was out of the freshly newborn stage. Always offer the other breast so
that your baby will get the amount of milk they need. Your breastmilk supply will regulate around 3-4 months
based on what your baby needs. During the first 3-4 months, you will encounter a good deal of leaking milk.
Breast pads are useful so that you are not going through seven shirts a day. Be warned that your breasts will
leak for any and all reasons.
Some babies will nurse for 45 minutes at a time while others may only nurse for 20 minutes at a time. It all
depends on how your body is designed. The nerves in your breast may take longer to be stimulated enough to
signal the let down or it could only take a minute. Keep this in mind if your doctor asks how long they are
nursing. It may take one baby a very different amount of time to get the same amount of milk. You might also
end up with a baby like mine who seemed to only want to snack. That meant we were breastfeeding all day
long because we needed ten minutes here then a fifteen minutes there. Babies will also nurse for comfort.
Loud scary noise? All that breastfeeding can lead to sore nipples.
After eat feeding I would suggest rubbing in some breastmilk onto your nipple, it will help prevent cracked, sore
nipples. There are also products you can buy but breastmilk is free and readily available. Placing a cooling
pack or cold washcloth onto your nipple after feeding can provide some comfort as well. Breastfeeding should
never be painful. If you are experiencing pain have an IBCLC assess your baby’s latch and rule out any