If you don’t read anything else I write below, please tell yourself that colostrum is enough to nourish and feed your baby.
I was fortunate enough to have found an amazing support group of moms before having our first girl. Not only were there experienced moms in my group, but there were L&D nurses, lactation consultants, doulas, midwives, and even an IBCLC with decades of experience. I can’t say that I would have been as successful at breastfeeding without these groups and these amazing women standing by my side through every difficult moment, especially with my first.
It’s seem funny to think that I had times when I questioned myself or my milk as I’ve now breastfed for 1,500 consecutive days. However, there were absolutely times where I did. Most of those questions came in the first few weeks of having a child, but especially the first few days.
- Why was my baby crying constantly?
- Why was she sleeping so much?
- Why did she nurse for 3 minutes, unlatch, and then cry again 5 minutes later?
- Why did it seem like she was nursing every hour for an hour around the clock?
- Why can I barely get anything out if I try to hand express? (or pump)
This and so many more questions filled my mind and that was only in the first 24 hours after birth. No one wants to starve their child, but our country also isn’t set up in a way that supports knowledge given out accurately either. We seem to forget in our after-birth high that millions of women have done this before us in a time where formula wasn’t readily available. Yet, in still, we allow formula reps to push sugar laden pre-made mixtures down the throats of this life we just created without question, because “they know best”. Do they? Or is your body, the same body that created a new organ to nourish a new human being in a matter of months, actually know what it’s doing?
Please stop questioning your body’s ability to provide for your child.
Colostrum is 100% enough to feed your baby until your milk comes in whether that’s day 1 or day 5. Whether you have a 5lb baby or a 10lb baby.
Colostrum is the yellowish, thick, milk that is extremely high in carbs, antibodies, and protein produce as the perfect first food for your baby. Colostrum also acts as a laxative to help pass stools in the early days, thus expelling meconium and bilirubin. While it’s low in volume, the more often you breastfeed those first few days, the faster your milk will come in. Every time that you give formula instead of putting your baby at your breast, you are halting that process.
Your mature milk typically comes in around day three or four. For most moms, they are home by this time. Therefore, unless there is a medical emergency, there’s no reason why formula should be given to a breastfeeding mother in the hospital.
3 Goals for New Baby
- Breastfeed 8-12 times every 24 hours after birth (the more the better).
- Strictly breastfeeding mothers cannot overfeed their baby, but they can underfeed
- Watch diaper output
- Whether you can hand express or pump 1/2 teaspoon or 2 ounces doesn’t matter. Every mother is different. What matters is that your baby is peeing and pooping. Typically one wet and one dirty diaper for every day of life (1 diaper each on Day 1, 2 diapers each on day 2, etc). Around day 4-5 when your milk starts to come in, you can expect at least 5-6 wet diapers a day.
- Watch weight (the baby’s weight, not yours)
- You will have a weight check at around 3 days, 1 week, 2 week. If you received any fluids during your labor, this could inflate the baby’s weight loss and shouldn’t be counted towards birth weight.
- Make sure they are using the same scale with the same amount of clothes every time (preferably naked)
Diaper output and weight are literally the only things you should be watching. No matter how often the baby cries, no matter how often they unlatch and relatch, just nurse.
Grab a box of chocolates, a gallon of water, and hang out on the couch to binge watch your favorite Netflix series.
Remember, your baby’s stomach is the size of a marble on day one. Not much needs to come out to fill that up!
Breastfeeding isn’t a cake walk, but your colostrum is enough.
Disclosure: We are not a medical professional and the information offered here is our opinion based on our knowledge and education. If concerned, it’s best to seek out information on your own and speak with your own medical professionals that you trust. We always recommend seeing a lactation consultant for breastfeeding concerns.