A is for Adjustment

prenatal breastfeeding education

I love to teach! One of my goals as a Lactation Specialist is to teach expecting parents, well, what to expect. Studies have shown that women who attend prenatal breastfeeding classes had significantly increased breastfeeding rates at 6 months. With both of my daughters they readily admit that a prenatal breastfeeding class would have benefited them greatly.

So since I love to teach I am going to doing posts here on the blog with the basic outline of my breastfeeding class. Although I do firmly believe that a hands-on class where you can participate and ask questions is the best way to experience this, I also know that some people just prefer to find an online way to learn or maybe just want some information at their fingertips.

I call my Prenatal Breastfeeding Class “The ABC’s of Breastfeeding”. There is so much information out there to get your feet wet with when it comes to breastfeeding that I was able to come up with something for every letter of the alphabet. I am planning on trying to keep my post short and succinct with this so that you won’t feel that you have a ton of things to wrap your brain around and remember but I want to at least touch on things.

We are finding that most moms want to know what issues they could possibly run into with breastfeeding rather than not knowing so I will be introducing some things that you may never even experience in your breastfeeding journey.

So after all of that I want to jump right in with the letter “A”

A” is for Adjustment

There are a lot of adjustments during this time. Your body needs to adjust to not being pregnant anymore, maybe you have some extra healing that needs to take place. Your sleep is most likely being interrupted and you and your partner need to adjust to being parents and adding a new family member.

Another adjustment is your milk. You may feel like you have no milk at first. That is because of the very important substance called “colostrum”. Your baby doesn’t need very much of this “first milk” since his or her stomach is the size of a marble with a maximum capacity of 5-7 ml (about 1/4 of an ounce). It does not have the ability to expand to accommodate more milk yet so our body isn’t producing much yet, just what baby needs. Don’t be fooled into thinking that your baby needs to be taking ounces of breast milk at this point. That could lead you to feel that you need to supplement with formula. But your body is producing just what baby needs. We will cover how great colostrum in when we get to the letter “C”.

Photography by Stanley Ong

By day 3 baby’s stomach has grown to the size of a ping-pong ball, holding about an ounce.

By days 5-8 baby’s stomach continues to grow and by day 10 and beyond it is about the size of a chicken egg, holding about 2-3 ounces.

Around day 3 your milk will start to “transition”, sometimes said to be “coming in” but technically you already had milk, it is just changing from colostrum and increasing in volume. Now you are going to have some adjustments of your own which we will cover in more detail when we get to the letter “E” and talk about engorgement.

That is all we will touch on for today. As I said, I don’t want to overwhelm you and give you too much to read through in one post. I will be back soon to move on to the letter “B”.

Feel free to leave any comments or ask questions. I will answer them to the best of my ability.

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