Milk production is based on "demand and supply." The more your baby nurses, the more milk your body will make.
Your body makes two hormones that help you to produce milk: prolactin and oxytocin.
The first milk you produce is called colostrum. This is low in volume but packed with antibodies to protect your baby from diseases.
Colostrum is thick and concentrated. Known as "liquid gold," it is very high in protein and nutrients. It is the perfect food given in the perfect amount.
Over the first week, your milk gradually increases. Breastmilk has all the nutrition your baby needs. You don't need to give your baby water.
The more milk your baby takes, the more milk you body makes. All shapes and sizes of breasts produce milk. You can breastfeed if you have had either a vaginal or a Cesarean birth.
The first few days after birth you will notice that your breasts:
Between the second and sixth days after birth you will notice that your breasts:
Your baby will help regulate your milk supply. Together, you and your baby will develop your own rhythm.
Sometimes, in the first two weeks, your baby will not wake up on his own to eat. You need to wake your baby every three to four hours to feed.
Sleep when your baby sleeps. Limit visitors. Try calming techniques such as rocking, humming or playing soothing music. Keep baby skin-to-skin when you or your partner are awake and available. Stay calm and call for help if you need it.
Your partner can help you with any of these:
Skin-to-skin contact keeps your baby warm. You can cover the baby with a blanket.
Alternate which breast you start with at each feeding. Allow your baby to drain the first breast well. You will know your breast is draining well when:
Burp your baby and offer the second breast if you see feeding cues.
Remember, you cannot breastfeed too often. Feeding often keeps your breasts soft and easier to latch onto.
Your nurse will help you get started breastfeeding. Ask questions.
Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, seventh edition, ob-ah-90026
Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts