"Your milk will come in, you'll feel it," veteran mother's would tell me. "Okay but what if it doesn't," would be my internal response so as not to come off ungrateful for their advice. Not knowing when my milk would come in after my C- Section was a huge stressor for me. I don't want my child to starve! I didn't want her to resent me because I would already be failing at one of my very first tasks as "mom".
You may be having the very same breast feeding questions and concerns that I did. So I am here to give you some first time breast feeding moms some words of wisdom and what you can expect shortly after birth.
I didn't feel it!
Constantly hearing mother's say that my milk would drop had me expecting a flood of milk to fall out of my chest any second. But, that didn't happen. I woke up the first day after birth and yes my breasts were bigger and engorged. But, when I pumped all I was getting was small amounts of colostrum.
For those of you who may not know colostrum is a transitional "milk" produced by the mammary glands. Colostrum is full of much needed nutrients to keep your little one nice and strong. This thick yellowy fluid has the ability to strengthen your baby's immune system and also assists with growth.
So put your mind at ease. If your milk hasn't come in yet, that's okay. Your body knows what to do and will produce colostrum so that your baby won't starve. Even if you're producing small amounts of colostrum a little goes a long way and your baby will thank you for it.
But, it's still been two days and my milk still hasn't come in!
I will be honest with you it can be about 5 days until your milk comes in (colostrum transitions into mature milk). It took about two days until my milk came in. For me that was frustrating because I was doing all of the right stuff.
I was running back and forth from my recovery room to NICU to do chest to chest with my daughter. I would take hot showers and massage my milk ducts to help the milk drop. I would try to feed her or pump for at least 20 minutes every two hours. I would pray and pray and pray so more. But, still nothing. Needless to say I was frustrated.
But, by the end of the second day I got up to go visit my baby without the intention of trying to pump or breast feed (and fail). I went just to see her beautiful face. I was rested, relaxed, and inclined to just stare at her all night.
As I am holding Rose in her NICU room I check to see if it's time for a diaper change because I feel trinkles of liquid running down my stomach. Still puzzled, due to her dry diaper, I panic thinking that my incision is torn and that fluid is leaking.
Tracing where the fluid is from I am ECSTATIC to discover it is from my nipples! I took a huge sigh of relief and proceeded to feed my little one and then pump. Full disclosure I did not get 50 plus milliliters of milk at first. I got closer to 10 milliliters. But, that was okay.
If this happens to you don't worry. God has created your body to adjust to how much your baby is accustomed to eating. The more you feed and pump the more milk your body will produce. And as long as little one is breast feeding your well will never run dry.
So no I did not feel the "flood" of my milk coming in and you may not either. I barely felt or focused on anything dealing with my body considering I was determined on being by my child's bedside so that she can come home with me.
Rest, sleep, and don't stress. You got this and your milk is on the way. Just keep pumping and keep working on latching and breast feeding. God's got the rest!