Breastfeeding and Delayed Milk Production
For the first 3 to 5 days after your baby is born, you will make a small amount of
colostrum. Colostrum is a thick, rich milk that is high in nutrients. Around day 3
through 5, your milk will "come in". Here are some causes that may result in a delay
of milk coming in:
Cesarean (surgical) delivery
Bleeding after birth
Infection or illness with fever
Strict or prolonged bed rest during pregnancy
If you are having difficulties with delayed milk production or a decrease in the amount
of milk, a review of the number and length of feedings should be the first thing to
evaluate. And make sure that the baby is able to put his or her mouth around the nipple
and begin to nurse (" latching on") and is able to transfer milk from the breast.
If you have a delay in your milk coming in, do not feel discouraged. Continue to express
milk , that is removing milk from your breasts with a breast pump or by hand. And
continue to breastfeed frequently, even if you are supplementing with formula for
a few days.
Occasionally, a mother has a health condition that may temporarily delay the large
increase in milk production usually seen between 3 to 5 days following birth. These
mothers may not begin to produce large amounts of milk until 7 to 14 days after giving
birth. If this happens to you, do not feel discouraged. Continue to breastfeed frequently
even if you also must give your baby infant formula for a few days.
Do not wait to get help if milk supply is ever a concern. The sooner you intervene,
the better. Many communities have breastfeeding support groups that can be a good
resource. Contact your health care provider if you are having problems breastfeeding.
He or she may recommend a lactation consultant, a specialist in breastfeeding.