3 Things You Should Know about Breastfeeding

Congratulations, you’re expecting a new baby! This time in your life is exciting and can seem overwhelming with the amount of information about pregnancy and breastfeeding. With August being National Breastfeeding Month, Slidell Memorial Lactation Consultant, Michelle Roberts, has some tips to help you prepare to breastfeed your baby.

1. You do have milk when your baby is born

As a new mom, it can be worrisome waiting for your milk supply to come in. Don’t worry! Your body starts producing your first milk at around 16 weeks gestation, so you will have milk when your baby is born! Breastmilk supply comes in stages and it can take weeks for your body to establish your mature supply.

The first milk your baby will receive from your body is a thick, yellowish liquid called colostrum that is rich in nutrients and antibodies for your new baby. Your body only produces about 1 teaspoon of colostrum per feeding, which does not seem like enough, but your baby’s stomach is only about the size of a marble!

Transitional milk typically comes in about 3-5 days after birth and your milk production will adjust to your baby’s feeding schedule. Mature breastmilk typically comes in around 4 weeks of age when your baby’s feeding habits are well established.

While it may seem like you need lactation cookies or supplements to bring in your milk, that is not the case. If you are concerned about your milk supply you should try:

Breast-feeding as soon as possible

Checking your baby’s latch

Hand massaging your breast while feeding

If you are still concerned with supply, it could help to meet with a lactation consultant.

2. There is no "magic food" that increases milk supply.

It is common to hear that certain foods will boost milk supply, but it is important to note that no scientifically proven food will do this. As a breastfeeding mom, you should focus on eating enough food and eating a balanced diet.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that a nursing mother eat an additional 300 to 400 kilocalories, but this number can be affected by age and activity level. If you are unsure of how much you should be eating to maintain your milk supply, consult your doctor.

3. You are not alone!

Preparing for a new baby can feel overwhelming at times. It is important to not only prepare but establish a support system. A way you can do this is through prenatal and breastfeeding classes. If you are curious about attending a class, reach out to your doctor about the classes your hospital offers. Slidell Memorial Hospital hosts classes to help you navigate each stage of becoming a new parent, from prenatal to post-birth.

For more information on Slidell Memorial's Birthing Center, or our lactation services call 985-280-8596.

About the Author:

Michelle Roberts
Michelle Roberts is a Registered Nurse & International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She has over 18 years of experience as an RN with 16 of those years helping moms & babies. She also has 10 plus years of experience as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She is also a mom of 4 kids, all of which she had breastfed. As a mom of 4, she knows the many challenges breastfeeding can have but also loved the bond that was created by breastfeeding with her children.