Breastfeeding is a freaking roller coaster of emotions but also such an amazing experience. This post is here to help you gain a better understanding of what to expect during the first 2 weeks of breastfeeding.
Before I go any further however I would like to say and remind everyone reading this post that FED is best. There are going to be circumstances where you may not be able to breastfeed, whether it’s a personal choice, you had a complicated birth, whatever the reason FED is always best. Don’t be hard on yourself if you are not able to breastfeed, or you stopped breastfeeding sooner than you wanted to. No matter what you do, YOU ROCK MAMA!
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Breastfeeding Guide: The First Few Weeks
When Will Your Breastmilk Come in?
Your body starts producing breastmilk before you even give birth, usually when you are about 16-22 weeks pregnant. This first form of milk that your body creates is called colostrum, a thick nutrient packed form of breast milk. Colostrum has a thicker, creamier constancy and is usually a light yellow or gold colour, hence the term liquid gold! It provides nutrients and antibodies for your baby the first few days after birth.
Breastmilk supply increases (comes in) 2 to 4 days after birth. But for some woman it can take longer for your supply to come in, this is called delayed on set of lactation. Consult with your lactation consultant or doctor if you feel like your baby is not getting enough milk. They should not lose more than 7% of their birth weight, and they should be producing roughly 6-8 wet diapers in a 24 hour time period.
How Do You Know When you Breastmilk Has Came In?
Oh girl, you will know. My boobs were so sore and engorged I thought they were going to explode. But because everybody is different here are the signs that your breastmilk has come in:
- Your breast feel sore or tingling
- Your nipples start leaking milk. This was so real for me, I woke up to a huge puddle of milk in my bed. Invest it breast pads, for real. If you don’t want to wear breast pads, put a towel underneath you at night, trust me, you will thank me later.
- change in babies feeding pattern. You can hear them “chugging” milk.
- breastfeed heavy and warm to the touch
How to Help Stimulate Milk Production
How long it takes for your breastmilk to come in is controlled by hormones, but there are some things you can do to help with the process.
- skin to skin contact, lots of it
- breastfeed frequently — You cannot overfeed a breastfed baby
- stay hydrated
Breast/ Nipple pain
Some pain is to be expected during the first two weeks of breastfeeding, I swear it does get better after the first two weeks. But extreme pain or nipple soreness is generally due to a terrible latch, or latch positioning. To help combat the nipple soreness in the beginning I recommend :
-re-evaluate your babies latch. A trick I always did to help my son have a better latch was once he attached I would put my thumb just under his bottom lip, but above his chin and gently pull down. This would help him get his mouth around the whole nipple instead of just sucking the very tip, because ouch that is terribly painful.
Try different positions to hold your baby in. The football hold work best for us. I would cradle his head in my hands and his butt would be supported by my elbow at my side. This allowed me to “hang” my breast downwards and plop in into his mouth. But experiment with different positions and see which one works best for you.
-If you are having a hard time finding a comfortable position I recommend a Boppy pillow, it did wonders for me for the first two weeks while I was getting used to the different breastfeeding positions
nipple cream in the bomb yo, get some, it helps! I used Lanolin, it was by far my favourite. Just be careful after you apply it, it will leave stains on clothing.
If you are experiencing a lot of pain talk with your midwife/doctor or lactation consultant to see if they can help you achieve a better latch.
Nipple Leakage/ Engorgement
Until your breastmilk supply regulates you will be very engorged, and this can be very painful. Try offering the boob to babes more often to help relieve some pain/pressure.
Check out this post on the signs and symptoms of mastitis
Chances are your boobs are going to leak a lot. They will leak when you haven’t fed in a while, while you sleep, while your feeding, when you look at another baby, or when your baby cries. They will pretty much leak none freaking stop. A few things you can do to help
When at home
- I used to shove burp cloths/receiving blankets down my shirts
- put a towel under you when you sleep
- get a Haakaa breast pump to catch some of the milk while you’re feeding. With the milk you catch with the Haakaa you can either use it to build you breastmilk stash or use it for milk baths.
- Breast pads 100% You can buy disposables or re-usable ones.
- Or if you don’t care just let it flow girl, you do you!
You Will Feel Like Your Baby Is Always On The Boob
You will probably feel like all you do is feed your baby and that they are constantly attached to you. This is very normal, and what is supposed to happen! So Don’t worry. During the first few weeks of breastfeeding your baby is trying to stimulate your milk production and building up your supply. This is called cluster feeding. This helps your body learn how much milk to produce for your babies specific needs.
Your baby will also cluster feed during growth spurts. Again, they cluster feed to increase your supply during growth spurt so your body can start producing more milk for your growing babe.
According to research studies, babies saliva can send signals to the mother’s body, through breastfeeding, when they are sick. When your body receives these signals it will produce more milk with specific antibodies to fight off your babies illness.
Other things to expect
- For the first few weeks don’t worry if you feel like you cannot get anything done, a routine will eventually fall into place. Word of the wise, before you go into labor, make up pre-made meals and keep them in the freezer for easy meal prep!
- Breastfeeding will make you extremely thirsty keep a water bottle around at all times
Check out this post on breastfeeding supplies you need
A lot of the beginning stages of breastfeeding is just learning your baby, and adjusting to their needs and what suits the two of you best. When in doubt with anything do not hesitate to call your doctor/midwife or a lactation consultant.
A good support system is also extremely beneficial to have during your breastfeeding journey! Husband, partner, friend, family member, or support groups online, whoever you need to have in your corner.
If you are looking for more tips and advice check out my facebook group. A place where moms can come from judgment-free tips and advice. No mom shaming here. We are a growing group and would love to have you join the community!