A nursing relationship starts during your pregnancy when your breasts start to produce early milk called colostrum. Colostrum is the only food your baby will need for the first few days of life. This perfect food has ingredients that are crucial for your child’s present and future health. Sodium, protein, potassium, minerals, as well as Vitamins’s A and E are just some of God’s gifts present in it. Colostrum also contains the white cell-leukocytes. Leukocytes has the power to destroy viruses and harmful bacteria. Your baby will drink colostrum in teaspoon amounts that is suited to the size of his tiny stomach.
For first time mothers your mature milk will appear within 3-7 days after birth, and sooner than that for mom’s who have already given life. You will know your mature milk has come in because you will feel very full and heavy. This fullness is called engorgement, and it happens when the pressure of milk causes the veins in your breast to expand. Engorgement normally does not last longer than 12 hours and gets less severe for each child you give birth too. Nursing often-at least every two hours, and gentle yet firm circular massage from breast to nipple will help ease the fullness.
Your baby knows how much to eat, so do not watch the clock! Some mothers feel discouraged when her baby doesn’t nurse as long as she thinks he should nurse. Some babies are happy to only nurse for 10 or minutes, and this is OK! A simple diaper log will tell you if baby is getting enough milk.
-Is baby soaking at least 6 wet diapers in 24 hours?
-Is baby passing at least 2 large yellow stools per day?
If your baby does not have proper soiled diapers amounts and is not gaining weight then he should be seen by a physician and be sure to consult with an LLL leader or lactation consultant.
Supply and Demand is a good thing to remember while nursing. The more your baby nurses, the more food you will produce for him. This is why bottles should be avoided during the first year of life. Every time you feed baby from a bottle he is not suckling to demand more milk. Eventually your body will take this as a sign that baby does not want that feeding and will lead to supply problems and early weaning. Health care professional recommend nursing till at least 24 months of age, and as long afterwards as both mom and child like.