Cluster feeding begins to happen at this time. Hang in there. Use the rescue remedy cream to help with sore nipples and airdry your nipples as much as possible. Also letting breastmilk dry on nipples is very healing (breastmilk is also great for pink eye and baby eczema…in some countries they store extra breastmilk to keep senior citizens healthy…you are creating great stuff!).
You have passed a milestone. Hooray! Your body has figured out the fluid level, the general timing of when and how much the baby wants to nurse.
You should no longer feel the engorgement/swelling and often this freaks moms out thinking “Maybe I don’t have enough milk”. You have enough milk, it’s just your body has adjusted.
How to check you have “enough” milk: Baby is filling about 10 diapers a day and baby is gaining weight.
If you have not already joined a breastfeeding support group or postpartum class now is the time! Nothing like hanging out with people having a similar experience to know that you are not crazy and all of this very new stuff is normal, maybe weird and wonderful, but normal.
You want to place the baby to the breast within the 1st hour if at all possible. This is when they are most awake and have the energy to learn how to suck. (just think of any energy it takes to learn something new.)
It usually take 3-5 days for your milk to come in. You do have colostrum (the stuff that was leaking out above). This is very high in sugar and babies only need 4-6 drops every 2 hours in order to keep their sugar levels normal. So don’t panic or worry that it isn’t enough. If your baby won’t suck, then squeeze out these drops on your finger and place the finger in their mouth. (If you want you can place the tip of the finger on the roof of their mouth to encourage the suck)
Nurse and nurse and nurse as much as the baby wants. The baby is programming your body to produce milk depending on demand.
When your milk does come in:
Your breasts are adjusting to all this new fluid and working on learning how to do fluid control. This means you can leak a lot, your breasts can become engorged and the let down can be intense for baby. All is normal and will eventually take care of itself…in the meantime:
- If you leak a lot: There are plastic shields to place in nursing bras that collect the milk. There are also pads, but I have found many women who use these pads end up with yeast (candida/thrush). If you suspect thrush or have a history of candida leave the flap s down on your nursing bra as often as you can so they can airdry.
- If your breasts are engorged: This is temporary. Do not pump lots out. If you need to squeeze a few drops out to get nipple accessible to the baby, you can hand express.
- If this is not enough and you are not allergic to sulfa drugs you can place a raw cabbage leaf (white or green stains less) between your bra and breast and the heat of your breasts will wilt the cabbage and release the chemicals to bring the “swelling” down.
Cluster feeding!!! Your babe will go through stages of increasing your milk supply by nursing closer together. This does not mean you do not have enough milk. It means they are about to have a growth spurt. All good. If you find your nipples sensitive then put the rescue remedy cream on right after nursing. It will melt in and nipples will be happy and so will you and baby. No need to wipe it off before feeding again (note on packaging is FDA required because the original preparation has a tad of alcohol in it).
First time breastfeeding?
Hello first time breastfeeder!
Here are some things to know ahead and then check back with at the appropriate times:
Your body prepares milk that is age appropriate to your baby…amazing! And it also prepares milk that prevents disease based on the baby’s backwash that goes into your milk ducts. (CLICK HERE for a relatively new finding by a scientist mom!).
Usually before giving birth (up to 4 weeks before) you may start leaking colostrum. This is a good thing and you know that your body is on track. At this point you can just put a tissue or cotton pads in your bra to not have a wet mark on your shirt/dress.
- Do wear a shirt braless to bed to allow your nipples to get used to not being protected all the time.
- DO NOT rough up the nipples with a washcloth.
- Rescue Remedy cream is great for preparing the nipples for breastfeeding….apply daily
The more you can trust that your body knows what it is doing (even if your mind doesn’t) the body responds by working with ease and grace.
- Getting sleep is crucial to keeping milk supply happy. Get creative about how to meet everyone in the family’s needs. Including yours!!
- Using one or more of these flower essences can help: The New Mother Formula, Crisis, Inner Mother, Milky Nipple Cactus (all from Desert Alchemy), 5 flower formula (from Healing Herbs).