Breastfeeding Basics

During your pregnancy, hormones stimulate the development of the milk producing tissue in your breast to get ready to make enough milk for your baby. Your breast may have become fuller, and you may have noticed some leaking of colostrum (early milk) from your nipples as you approach your baby’s birth date.

After your baby is born, your hormones cause your breasts to start making milk within the first two to five days, and you may experience engorgement. The more often you breastfeed your baby in the early days the sooner your full milk production will occur.

During the early days of breastfeeding your baby, you may feel uterine cramps, increased feelings of thirst or drowsiness which are signs that your breastmilk is “letting down” or flowing to your baby. After the first week, the uterine cramps will most likely be gone but you may start to feel a tingly sensation in your breast or notice the opposite breast leaks while your baby breastfeeds.

Your breast will make as much milk as your baby drinks. The more often you breastfeed your baby, the more breastmilk your body will make.

Leaking Breast Milk

This “letdown” or breast milk leaking may happen when you are not ready to feed your baby. Sometimes this happens when you hear a baby (any baby) cry, when you think about your baby, or when you have sex. Nursing pads can be worn inside your bra to soak up the milk. These should be changed often, to keep your nipples clean and dry. You can use a cotton handkerchief or other cotton squares inside your bra or you can purchase pads that are specially made. Some are disposable, and some can be washed and used again. Avoid pads that are lined with plastic.

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