One of the most common comments that Lactation Consultants hear is, “My milk isn’t in yet.”
There are at least three main reasons that Mother Nature wants your baby to have only colostrum and why we stress exclusive breastfeeding in this early newborn period.
- A Smooth Transition.
As your baby grows and develops inside your stomach, your baby swallows large amounts of fluid. We know that amniotic fluid has important growth factors and protective proteins that will help your baby’s tummy and intestines. Colostrum is similar to amniotic fluid with these same growth factors and protective proteins. This amazing liquid allows a smooth transition from what your baby’s stomach is use to as it moves toward mature breast milk.
Colostrum is considered a medicine for your baby as well as a food. Why? As your baby breastfeeds and gets this liquid gold, the colostrum lines the stomach and the intestines protecting it against harmful bacteria and germs. So each time you breastfeed your baby, think about how you are giving him/her a little boost to his/her immune system. Colostrum also acts as a natural laxative to help your baby have frequent stools which may lessen the chances for jaundice. The amounts of colostrum available are in perfect harmony with what your baby needs each time he/she is breastfeeding.
When your baby breastfeeds in the first couple of days, this unique sucking pattern provides the critical stimulation you as new mother needs to increase milk supply. Breastfeeding frequently in this early newborn period is not a sign that you “are starving your baby” or that “you do not have enough to feed your baby”. It is a sign that your baby knows what to do and it is good for both of you. Your baby is getting the colostrum that is so good for him/her and you are getting the stimulation you need for a good milk supply that hopefully will last during your entire breastfeeding experience.