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When milk doesn't come in for a few days...

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
What do you do when your milk doesn't come in right away? I have a cousin who just had a baby and "had" to bottle feed formula for the first few days because her milk hadn't come in. I know this happens, but it still doesn't seem right to give formula, especially in a bottle- to a newborn.

I'm not going to chastise her or anything, I am sure she was just following dr orders, but I am curious what one usually does... still nurse in order to stimulate the milk to come in?

Or, does milk not coming in still mean that the baby is getting colustrum?

Just curious...
post #2 of 38
umm I nurse anyway.

Babies are born with extra fat to pad them against the FACT that the milk doesn't come in for a few days.

Just keep the breast in the baby's mouth and nurse like crazy. Colustrum is all they really need in those few days.
post #3 of 38
Baby gets colostrum until the milk comes in, doesn't matter if it takes 2 days or 10. 99.9% of the time baby gets all it needs from the colustrum. In fact giving formula when the baby should be nursing almost constantly causes low supply when the milk does come in.

I'd say your cousin has a long hard road ahead of her if she plans to nurse for any length of time.
post #4 of 38
I thought colostrum was even more nourishing than milk?

I had always assumed that when people say "milk hasn't come in" they mean colostrum hasn't come in yet either. (In case you can't tell, I haven't had no baby yet ) Does colostrum look very different from milk?
post #5 of 38
My milk took a while to come in, and although she nursed like crazy, she was still hungry. We suplimented with formula for those first days : , but when my milk came in she easily took to my breast, and has been feeding like a champ ever since (6 months so far).
Its not ideal, but it doesn't have to be the end of the world. Just tell her to keep putting the baby to her breast, and hopefully her milk should be fine.
post #6 of 38
I think it *normally* takes a few days for the milk to come in, am I wrong? Like others have mentioned, they are supposed to get colostrum during that time. I guess if your colostrum never came in you might have to give formula... I don't know, I've never heard of that happening.

My milk took a week to come in with my first baby, and maybe 3 days with my second. I didn't give either of them formula.
post #7 of 38
My milk took about 4 days to come in.

I've read that it is normal for milk to take a few days to come in...that's why you have the colostrum. Colostrum is all the baby needs in the first few days. Baby won't starve. It's normal for breastfed babies to lose a bit of weight in the first week. They tend to gain it back. My DD was back at her birth weight within a week
post #8 of 38
Milk never comes in right away; colostrum is produced at first because that is what the baby NEEDS at first.
I'm steamed that a doctor would insist on giving formula instead of colostrum. :
post #9 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by sphinxie View Post
I thought colostrum was even more nourishing than milk?

I had always assumed that when people say "milk hasn't come in" they mean colostrum hasn't come in yet either. (In case you can't tell, I haven't had no baby yet ) Does colostrum look very different from milk?
It's a little hard to describe...it's thicker, clear to cleary-yellow in color. When I was pregnant I started leaking colostrum at 5 mo. In general, it's there even before babe is born. The more the baby nurses, the faster the milk will come in (usually). Meanwhile it gets the colostrum, and you can tell things are moving along if the meconium poops are coming out and you're having fairly good amount of wet diapers.

It too infuriates me to no end with stupid doctors telling moms to supplement until milk comes in. My son's former ped tried that line on me, using scare tactics like "Well you don't want him to go to the hospital for dehydration do you?" At ONE FRICKIN DAY OLD HE TOLD ME THIS!!! He told me his lips were dry because he was dehydrated....no it's because he just 24 hours ago came out of a watery environment where he's lived for 9 months! And the stupid thing was I almost believed him. First baby, hormoned out like crazy, freaked both dh and I out. Thank goodness that we had a checkup at the birth center where the LC and nurses put our minds at ease.
post #10 of 38
Colostrum is there before the "milk" comes in.

My milk came in on the FIFTH day. For 4.5 days DS got colostrum, and thrived like crazy on it.

I was lucky b/c the hospital booted me to the curb 42 hours post-op (yes, op), so I was at home, rather than in a hospital with medicos breathing down my neck about my milk.

Without the vast amounts of sucking that E did, in those colostrum days, I doubt he and I would have the fabulous nursing relationship that we do today. If I'd met his sucking and eating needs in another way, I doubt he'd have been so excellent at getting my milk.
post #11 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmaela View Post
My milk took about 4 days to come in.

I've read that it is normal for milk to take a few days to come in...that's why you have the colostrum. Colostrum is all the baby needs in the first few days. Baby won't starve. It's normal for breastfed babies to lose a bit of weight in the first week. They tend to gain it back. My DD was back at her birth weight within a week
My colostrum did come in, milk about 5 days later, DD did nurse the colostrum, but got frustrated. She seemed like she might still be hungry, so we tried formula. She was satisfied, and then calmed down. I'm completely fine with giving her formula for those few days to supplement my nursing. . It didn't hurt our nursing relationship at all (she's even nursing as I type.
post #12 of 38
Does colostrum ever not come in? I am a first time mommy to be, about 31 weeks, and I got nothing - not leaking anything from the breasts at all.
post #13 of 38
not leaking while pg means nothing. I'm sure you'll be just fine!

I've never heard of colostrum not coming in. It's in very small volumes though so I could see uneducated people about bf'ing thinking it hadn't "come in" since baby gets like a teaspoon at a time.

My friend's baby was very frustrated waiting for milk to come in...her midwife had her give the baby a little bit of water and she was totally fine...conked out and slept for 3 hours, she was more thirsty than hungry.

I would avoid giving formula in the early days at all costs, it impacts the gut flora and it takes at least a month for it to get back to normal. Obviously what's done is done, I mainly post that for the pregnant mama's to see.
post #14 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by KsMum View Post
My colostrum did come in, milk about 5 days later, DD did nurse the colostrum, but got frustrated. She seemed like she might still be hungry, so we tried formula. She was satisfied, and then calmed down. I'm completely fine with giving her formula for those few days to supplement my nursing. . It didn't hurt our nursing relationship at all (she's even nursing as I type.
you're very lucky that it didn't hurt your breastfeeding relationship, but you also unfortunately caused an imbalance in the beneficial bacteria in your baby's gut by feeding her formula, which impairs the immune system. for thousands of years infants have thrived on colostrum for several days or more until the milk comes in, that's the way it is supposed to happen. babies will still almost always take a full bottle of formula even after the milk comes in because they like eating, it doesn't mean they're starving. the only reason to supplement with formula is true dehydration, meaning less than six wet diapers in 24 hrs, no tears, dry mouth, lethargy, fever, etc. the number one reason breastfeeding doesn't work out is because of supplementation with formula.
post #15 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by bri276 View Post
you're very lucky that it didn't hurt your breastfeeding relationship, but you also unfortunately caused an imbalance in the beneficial bacteria in your baby's gut by feeding her formula, which impairs the immune system. for thousands of years infants have thrived on colostrum for several days or more until the milk comes in, that's the way it is supposed to happen. babies will still almost always take a full bottle of formula even after the milk comes in because they like eating, it doesn't mean they're starving. the only reason to supplement with formula is true dehydration, meaning less than six wet diapers in 24 hrs, no tears, dry mouth, lethargy, fever, etc. the number one reason breastfeeding doesn't work out is because of supplementation with formula.
I agree completely. Please take some time to read up on the newborn gut balance and how it can be altered by formula.
post #16 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by bri276 View Post
you're very lucky that it didn't hurt your breastfeeding relationship, but you also unfortunately caused an imbalance in the beneficial bacteria in your baby's gut by feeding her formula, which impairs the immune system.
She's doing just fine thanks, 6 months old and not a cold or illness.
post #17 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by KsMum View Post
She's doing just fine thanks, 6 months old and not a cold or illness.
Well you're very lucky & I'm glad she is so healthy. I think what the PP was trying to get at is that formula upsets a very delicate balance and is unnecessary in the first few days before mothers milk fully comes in. Yes, your babe is fine, and thats wonderful, but perhaps another child in another circumstance might not have been, depending on what illnesses he or she was exposed to, and what other environment he/she was in at the time. I think its important to remember that the advice we are giving on this board is read by many expectant mothers & new mothers and although it may have been ok for us, it may be detrimental to their breastfeeding relationships and therefore we must be careful.
post #18 of 38
well other pp have said it but there's not reason to suppliment with formula. Think about it, formula has been around for how long? And humans have been nursing babies for how much longer than that?!

The human body is truly amazing.
post #19 of 38
I never leaked colostrum, not even one drop, until after DS was earthside.

2.5 years, exclusively b'fed past 11 months, he still gets probably half os his day's calories from me...definitely going strong...


I'm not sure that one could really figure out, unless it were directly immediately happening to YOU, and ONLY if you were absolutely knowledgeable etc etc etc...if colostrum did not EVER come in, and was not followed up by milk, of course. Doctors obviously can't always be trusted, LCs can't be trusted 100%, mothers usually go by what they were told, grandmothers the same, etc etc etc...I think the ONLY person one could trust in that situation would be you and you alone, and that's only if you already were a true expert in b'feeding...

And even then, I'd still demand some sort of odd xray that could show NO milk being made while DC was nursing, and I don't think ANYONE is going to allow that sort of radiography on their chest and their baby's body. (and I don't think that tech exists without there being a contrast medium, and how would you do THAT? : )


Just surround yourself with trusting, BTDT people. Start going to LLL meetings NOW (they absolutely love pregnant women!!!), strike up some friendships, or at least make the acquaintance of the LLL leader so you can call someone you know with questions... Get your ducks in a row so you know who to listen to, if issues arise!
post #20 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by ndunn View Post
Well you're very lucky & I'm glad she is so healthy. I think what the PP was trying to get at is that formula upsets a very delicate balance and is unnecessary in the first few days before mothers milk fully comes in. Yes, your babe is fine, and thats wonderful, but perhaps another child in another circumstance might not have been, depending on what illnesses he or she was exposed to, and what other environment he/she was in at the time. I think its important to remember that the advice we are giving on this board is read by many expectant mothers & new mothers and although it may have been ok for us, it may be detrimental to their breastfeeding relationships and therefore we must be careful.
I responded to this post because the OP was asking if when one supplements with formula before milk comes in, if one would still nurse to get the colostrom and to help encourage the milk to come in. Since I had the same situation, and was able to develop a wonderful nursing relationship with my daughter, I thought it would be helpful for the OP to know that all is not lost.
No, formula is certainly not the best, but it certainly does not have to mean the destruction of a nursing relationship. I think the best thing for the OP is to encourage her cousin to keep at nursing, and if she can say "a woman on my board gave formula the first couple of days but was then able to exclusively breastfeed, so can you", then I'm glad to have shared my story.
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