Today I really want to talk to you about the one big thing that can really affect your milk supply and make new mamas really doubt that their milk is coming in during the first week.
With your milk supply, in the first few days after your baby is born, there's not much there. That first day, your baby is pretty sleepy, they’ve just learnt there’s a big new world and they're trying to get used to it.
Then comes day two and they're like, "Okay, give me food. I want it and I want it now." They become vocal, they find those little voices and it feels like they are just screaming down the house. This is where we really doubt ourselves as mums. Do you find yourself thinking "Okay, well, the baby's going to the breast every hour… and they're still crying. It's like there's nothing there." This is normal. Your breasts don't have their milk supply in, so it's important to be putting your baby to the breast constantly and consistently, every time they ask for it. It could be every one or two hours - whatever they're asking, you need to give it to them.
Basically they’re telling the breast that they need milk. This makes hormones go up to the brain and tell it to secrete another hormone, goes back down, and it creates milk in the breast for your baby. Doing it as much as you can is what will bring your milk supply in.
But unfortunately, the one thing that I mentioned that can really interrupt this, is giving a bottle of formula. I know it is so hard those first few days. Trust me, I've been there. I've had two now, and I understand that it is exhausting. You've just delivered a baby or had a C-section to get the baby out. It's a lot of work and you’re tired.
I get that breastfeeding is not easy, it's hard. But if you keep putting your baby to the breast, your milk supply will come in faster, and everything will start to go a little bit smoother. So try as best you can to not give a bottle of formula. Because when you give a bottle of formula, that is one feed that your breast didn't get the stimulation to tell your brain to make milk for the baby. All sudden, your body is essentially thinking, "Oh, baby didn't want milk, so I'm not going to produce anymore."
But the baby does want milk, and the only way to get your body to provide it is by stimulating your breasts. It's important to try not to give that bottle of formula, or that top up in that first week. Until you really get your milk supply in, just keep putting the baby to the breast, even if it is every hour.
Now, there are circumstances when there's something more going on, and medically, we need to intervene. I know this, I've seen this happen plenty of times. If that does happen, and you do have to give a bottle of formula, make sure you're either hand expressing or you're pumping so your body understands that your supply is still needed. You’ve got this mama.
Until next time!
💕 Courtney Garland
Registered Nurse (RN) in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
Registered Certified Lactation Consultant IBLCE
Member Association of Professional Consultants (APSC)