Resources for New Moms

What to Expect While Breastfeeding

Every mother’s experience with breastfeeding is different. Whether this is your first baby, or you are an experienced mom, each baby is unique.

At birth, your breasts will make a thick, yellowish substance called colostrum. Colostrum is packed with nutrients and other important substances that help your baby start building up their immune system. There will not be a lot of this liquid at first, but the amount will gradually increase over the first couple of days. Most babies will get all the nutrition they need through colostrum during the first few days of life.

As you begin breastfeeding, your baby’s sucking will tell your body to start making milk. For most mothers, this thinner, whiter form of milk comes in by about three days after birth, but it may take longer for first-time moms. You may notice your breasts feeling full, hard, and warm as this happens. Your baby may begin to want to breastfeed more frequently around this time.

Breastfeeding will be a learning process

Your baby is learning how to:

  • Latch.
  • Suck. 
  • Swallow.

You are learning how to:

  • Position your baby to feed.
  • Observe and follow their hunger cues.
  • Manage your breast milk supply and breast health.

Breastfeeding and breast pumping support is available. If you deliver your baby in a hospital, you may have access to a lactation nurse who can teach you how to breastfeed and help with any issues you may have. You can also seek out help from your baby’s provider or local breastfeeding support groups.

It’s normal to have problems learning how to breastfeed. Although your breasts and nipples may be tender or uncomfortable, once your baby is well-latched, breastfeeding or pumping should not be painful. Sometimes pain can happen if you have an improper latch, a milk duct that is clogged with milk (plugged milk duct), a breast infection (mastitis), or other issues. If you have pain while breastfeeding, especially with a fever, talk with your doctor or nurse to figure out why.

Source: CDC