For several days after the baby is born, the mother will produce colostrum. Colostrum is a type of "pre-milk" that can vary in consistency. For some women, it is thicker than regular breast milk and may even be yellowish. For other women, it is very thin and watery. Each woman is unique. Regardless of what the colostrum looks like, it has a number of protective properties. It has antibacterial substances and can boost the baby's immune system. These properties are not present in formula, so colostrum is very important for the new baby. Colostrum flows very slowly so that the baby can learn how to nurse properly before the milk comes in. Most mothers notice the transition from colostrum to milk at around the 3 or 4-day mark after the baby is born, although it can take longer. If milk hasn't come in after 3 to 4 days, moms should check with their lactation support specialist.
A breastfeeding mom should eat between 300 and 500 extra calories each day to help support the baby's health. Babies need to have a wide variety of essential nutrients in their small system. The lactation support doctor can provide each patient with some specific guidelines concerning diet. Healthy choices include fruit, veggies, whole grain foods, beans, dairy, and lean meat. Breastfeeding moms may also need to take supplements as recommended by the doctor to make sure that their baby gets everything it needs.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that moms exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first 6 months, starting at the time of birth. After that, it is still encouraged for up to a full year, and even longer if both the baby and the mom are willing to do so.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!