Breastfeeding and Delayed Milk Production
For the first 2 to 5 days after your
baby is born, you will make a small amount of colostrum. This is the early, thick, rich
milk that is high in nutrients. Colostrum is all a healthy full-term baby needs. Around 3
to 5 days after birth, your milk will come in. But some things may delay your milk from
coming in. These include:
Cesarean section (surgical)
Bleeding after birth
Infection or illness with fever
Strict or prolonged bed rest during pregnancy
Milk supply depends on demand, or milk
removal from the breast. The best way to have a good supply is to feed frequently, when
your baby shows hunger cues. You may have trouble with delayed or reduced milk production.
If that is the case, first take a look at the number and length of your feedings. And make
sure that your baby can put their mouth around your nipple to nurse (latch on). Also make
sure that your baby can transfer milk from your breast.
If you have a delay in your milk
coming in, don’t give up. Continue to express milk. That means removing milk from your
breasts with a breast pump or by hand. And continue to breastfeed often. Do this even if
you are supplementing with formula for a few days. Babies who are premature or jaundiced
are even more likely to need formula for a short time.
Sometimes a mother’s health condition
may cause a problem. It may briefly delay the large increase in milk production that often
occurs 3 to 5 days after birth. These women may not begin to produce large amounts of milk
until 7 to 14 days after giving birth. If this happens to you, don’t give up.
Don’t wait to get help if milk supply
is ever a concern. The sooner you get help, the better. Many communities have breastfeeding
support groups that can be a good resource. Contact your healthcare provider if you are
having problems breastfeeding. He or she may recommend a lactation consultant. This is a