Breastfeeding – What to Expect on Days 3-5

I hope you are loving my breastfeeding series as I am really enjoying writing it.  If you need more specific advice please email me and I will be happy to answer any questions.  Knowledge is power, the more you ask the more

you will be able to build a foundation that will be strong and lasting.

Day 3 – 5 is again more change, day 3 is when your milk "comes in".  Now this is the normal pattern but it can be earlier or later, whenever it comes, it can be managed, just remember the more you breastfeed the more milk you will make.  Another point is that your milk WILL come in, it is very rare for a woman to have problems as the same hormones that allowed you to get pregnant and birth our baby are the same hormones that will produce milk. 

What triggers the milk production, or lactogenesis II, at around day 3 is the rise in progesterone.  Progesterone is released as your placenta is removed.  With your baby in uteruo and your placenta doing a fantastic job of filtering the blood, low levels of progesterone are inhibiting your milk production.  This is why if you have a pre-term baby you will still produce milk as the placenta is removed……Amazing!  Lactogenesis II is the technical name for your milk coming in, it is a truly amazing process which begins with breast changes in puberty and continues until your milk comes in.  I will go into more detail as well as the biochemistry of breastmilk in a later blog as I find it fascinating.  You will see why it is imperitive that you consult a lactation consultant for any breastfeeding problems, after all if you had a tooth ache you would see a dentist to get the right advice, why not see a breastfeeding specialist if you have breastfeeding problems.  You will get advice straight from the horses mouth not just anyone’s biased, unresearch opinion!  I will hop off my soap box now and continue with day 3-5 of breastfeeding your baby. 

Day 3 or a little after your breasts will start to fill, it is very important to breastfeed your baby very regularly so you don’t get too full and engorged.  You will have too much milk for your baby at this time so just feed to make your breasts comfortable.  It will take about 48hours for your breasts to settle down.  You may find your breasts are too tight to attach your baby so you may need to hand express a little to soften the areola so your baby can attach. 

The best way to mangage engorgement or avoid it all together is to feed frequently, whenever you baby makes a noise or looks hungry then pop your bood in his/her mouth.  This will help drain some breast milk and make you feel comfortable and as a bonus will give you more practice at attachment.  If you want to refresh your attachment skills have a look at my first breastfeeding blog post.

As your milk comes in your baby may be a little unsettled and "windy", this is due to the change in flow of your milk.  Your baby on days 0-2 would suck in quick bursts on the breast then swallow as there was small amounts of colostrum.  Now, at day 3 if your baby sucks fast the he/she will get a mouthful of milk and will pull off to take a breath.  Your baby has to adjust its suck from suck, suck, suck, swallow to suck, pause, swallow.  It will take a couple of feeds just relax and know that your baby will change and have some wonderul long sleeps with a belly full of breast milk.

Up to day 5 you will feel like you are making head way.  Your nipples may be sore or damaged but starting to heal.  Using breast milk on your nipples after each feed and then letting them completely air dry is the best treatment.  You will also be taking your baby home.  Just remember that breastfeeding can take weeks to master and there will be no set routine at the moment so don’t stress yourself out over routine, it will come as your baby grows and is able to take more breast milk in at each feed.  Just meet your baby’s needs, that is whenever your baby wakes, it usually means feed time.  This can be every 3-4 hours day and night for the next 6 weeks, sounds daunting but so worth it.  This will cement your breastfeeding relationship and you will be feeding like a pro in no time.

Seek advice from a lactation consultant if you need, it may cost you some money but it is well worth the knowledge you will gain from a board certified up-to-date professional who is there for you and your family.  Enjoy the journey, you will have your up days and your down days, but remember the sun will come up each day as will a new set of skills to go with it.  Enjoy the ride and take it day by day, or feed by feed and remember to find professionals who will support you and your new family.

The next post is all about attachment, I know I have talked about this before but I feel it is well worth driving the point home, after all, if you have the attachment right then all other problems will either dissappear or not even surface.

Take care,

Loretta

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