Breastfeeding Part 3: When Milk Comes In

Posted On: 2010-03-31

You have just come home with baby and are exhausted regardless of what time it is.  You are attempting to nurse but feel like nothing is coming out because your milk hasn’t come in.  It’s awkward, and maybe even painful as you try to perfect a decent latch.  Eventually your baby determines that the colostrum is not quite enough “food” and realizes that there should be something more coming out…

We began nursing within 20 minutes of his birth under the instruction of our midwife but the above paragraph summaries how it went for me the first 3 and a half days before my milk came in; Dylan was born on Tuesday afternoon and my milk came in Saturday morning.  There are two things I will never forget about that day 1) trying to get out of the shower and 2) Stupidly wearing a fleece pajama set.

The former was quite a task, I needed at least 3 towels just to get out of the shower; one on the floor, one for my body, and the final for… let’s just say clean up.  Thankfully my husband was on paternity leave and was able to keep an eye on Dylan while I attempted such a feat. (I bow down to all single mothers that are doing this on their own.) Anyway, so the best part about this first shower with my milk in was my husband commenting later that I had not squeegee’d the shower. I kid you not, we have an all glass shower that we squeegee to prevent spots and soap buildup. I was on him so fast and said “Hey! I am leaking from every orifice of my body, I can’t even bend over (because of the vulvar varicosity and the straightened tailbone) much less squeegee the stupid shower.  Well of course he didn’t realize what a triumph the first milk in shower was and retreated immediately.

That day I naturally wanted to wear something comfortable and chose a light green fleece pajama set that had pink polka dots; my mother in law had purchased them as a birthday gift and deemed them gender neutral because it had both green and pink! We actually found out that day we were having a boy! Anyway, a few minutes after putting on the top I felt my breasts get really warm and get rock hard… I was letting down causing what could be deemed a misfire. Fleece tops are a definite No-No for the first few days of having new milk because it will trigger let downs.

For the first two weeks Dylan and I struggled with latching but I thought things were going great, however at his 2-week checkup he was a full pound below his birth weight. My midwife recommended I see a lactation specialist because he should have been back AT his birth weight. I will cover more on that in the next segment in the series: When My Water Broke and Arriving At The Birthcenter. Until I went to the lactation consultant though I didn’t know what “letting down” meant but it turns out I was letting down just not when he was latched. In addition to that my son was diagnosed with GERD so anything that he was eating was coming back up… a lot of it. That will also be a separate covered topic to come!

More on this topic coming this week:

Mon- Part 1: Breastfeeding Supplies

Tues- Part 2: Pumping Supplies

Wed- Part 3: When Milk Comes In

Thur- Part 4: Pumping/Storing Milk

Frid - Part 5: Tricks and Tips