Our Austin obgyns prepare you for what to expect with breastfeeding
Before giving birth for the first time, most women develop a set of expectations based on research, but even the most reliable sources of information can leave some new mothers bewildered when they discover that the breastfeeding process isn’t always as simple, natural and easy as some reports suggest.
Surprises and unexpected questions are par for the course during the first few days (or weeks) after delivery, and research and planning may not prepare you for the quirks and preferences of your own body and your own unique and beautiful newborn baby.
Here are a few simple guidelines that can help you prepare for the breastfeeding process. As you move forward, keep in mind that your own circumstances may vary, and don’t hesitate to reach out to our Austin obgyns for help.
We’re here to help as you provide your baby with the best form of nourishment nature can offer.
Breastfeeding: The arrival of your milk
As you begin breastfeeding, your milk will appear in three stages that correspond with your baby’s age: colostrum, transitional milk and mature milk. Colostrum looks like a thin, clear or yellowish substance that shows up during the first few days and falls somewhere on the spectrum between milk and pre-birth discharge.
This early stream contains valuable proteins and nutrients and offers biological advantages to a developing baby that aren’t yet fully understood. But don’t be alarmed if your colostrum doesn’t “flow” the way you imagine it might. Just a teaspoon per feeding will be plenty, and sometimes even this small amount of high-value milk doesn’t appear for the first day or two.
Within the first few days, colostrum will give way to “transitional milk” which is often described as a mixture of milk and orange juice. Transitional milk contains fewer immunoglobulins, but more fat, calories and lactose.
After about two weeks, these two early stages will evolve into mature milk, which looks a bit more like milk (though a bit thin and watery and sometimes slightly blue in color.) This milk is packed with nutrients and fat and will deliver all the important ingredients that your growing baby needs.
Please see our breastfeeding techniques page to learn more about what to expect when baby latches on for the first time. We’ll also provide some tips on staying comfortable and making sure your baby is getting enough to eat. In the meantime, contact our Austin obgyns with any questions you may have before your baby arrives!