If you chose to breastfeed, there are a few things you should know. First, you should know that you do NOT have “milk” right away – you have Colostrum. Colostrum is sticky substance that is yellowish or clear in color and may come in BEFORE you give birth (it is possible for a woman to start producing colostrum any time after about 14 to 16 weeks of the pregnancy). Colostrum, or ‘first milk’ is just right for your baby’s brand new digestive system. It contains maternal antibodies that give your newborn protection from disease you have developed immunity against.
Your milk will usually come in within 4-5 days after delivery. If you chose to breastfeed, you will want to start breastfeeding right away (after delivery) to stimulate breast milk production. Your milk will not come in on its own, your baby’s roll is to stimulate your body to produce it. If the situation allows, you should introduce your baby to the nipple right away. If you plan to deliver in a hospital, check if they have lactation consultants and seek them out for help. Lactation consultants can help to ensure your baby latching on correctly, learning to recognize if he/she is eating, and what to do if things aren’t going smoothly or as you planned.
As a new mother, breastfeeding for the first time can seem somewhat foreign – leaving many mothers unsure of what or how to breastfeed. A good position to start with is baby belly to your belly, with your arm supporting your baby’s head & body. Your baby’s mouth should cover a big part of the areola, and your nipple should be far back in your baby’s mouth. Do not panic if your baby doesn’t seem to be eating right away and keep in mind that it is hard work for your newborn. Both you and your baby need to adjust to the experience and learn how to breastfeed. If you find that you are having difficulty and/or have concerns, ask to see a lactation consultant for help.
Breastfeeding is a new experience for both mother and child. Making sure your baby latches on properly is important in helping you avoid cracked nipples. If you are a new mother you should use the creams recommended by your doctor if you experience any bleeding or soreness. Generally, if you are having a hard time (which you may not!) it gets easier after the first month or so. So don’t give up too quickly it’s to your babies benefit for you to give it a chance.
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