Many new moms who intend to breastfeed don’t know what to expect in their first days breastfeeding. Unfortunately, the lack of dialogue in our society leaves many of these mothers with unrealistic expectations about how their body will respond to the need to feed their baby in the earliest days. Keep reading to learn about what you can expect from your first days breastfeeding.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that you will go from not producing any milk before giving birth to having an abundance of milk on day one of your baby’s life. It takes time and work to build up your supply. Additionally, your child’s stomach is tiny in the first few days (take a look at the chart from Medela) which means you can expect to be frequently feeding (even once an hour) during your first days breastfeeding. Don’t be discouraged, however, because the frequent feedings signal your body to make more milk and if you stick with it, you will make enough to feed your baby.
There are a variety of issues you may encounter during your first days breastfeeding but not to worry, they are not uncommon and can be overcome with proper care and persistence. Due to the frequent feedings and the commonality of improper latching, of those issues that many new moms experience is sore or cracked nipples that can make nursing or pumping exceptionally painful. The added difficulty of feeding or pumping with sore or cracked nipples can seem insurmountable, but with the proper support and treatment, many mothers are able to establish a good latch and continue breastfeeding.
Regardless of whether or not you experience issues breastfeeding, all new moms require support to develop a strong and healthy breastfeeding relationship with your child. Support can come from your partner, family, or a certified professional. Certified Lactation Counselors (CLC’s) and Internationally Board Certified Lactation Counselors (IBCLC’s) exist to provide continuing support for breastfeeding mothers and have a wealth of information they can share with you. No matter what issues you and your child may be having with breastfeeding, they can provide you with guidance and advice that will help address any physical problems or pain while helping you to build up your supply. To find an IBCLC in your area, click here.