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A serious question- if your milk doesn't come in for days after birth how does the baby survive?

I know colostrum comes in before milk, which can take days after birth to come in, and obviously it has to be enough to sustain life in infants otherwise breastfeeding would be impossible.

I guess I just need some re-assurance that my baby will get enough to eat and I want to know if it needs to be supplemented with formula at that time? It's my first baby and I want to breastfeed, but I don't want my infant to be hungry :( That would break my heart.


Asked by staciandababy at 6:12 PM on Oct. 2, 2009 in Pregnancy

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This question is closed.
Answers (40)
  • The baby doesn't need as to eat as much the first 24 hours or so, there fore the colostrum is enough. Your body and breast are designed to do just what they need to do for the baby.

    Answer by abbynzachsmommy at 6:36 PM on Oct. 2, 2009

  • your breasts are going to provide enough food for your baby, you don't need to add formula or ANYTHING. The colostrum is just enough and right for the baby, your milk will be as well. (God willing) Good luck!! Join the breastfeeding moms group on this site, it is super helpful and never bashes. Congrats!!!

    Answer by gottalovemal at 6:16 PM on Oct. 2, 2009

  • Supplementing with only make breastfeeding harder, if not impossible. A lot of babies wont take the breast again after having a bottle very young. Your baby wont be starving. They will nurse CONSTANTLY for the first few days but thats what gets your milk to come in.

    Answer by ma2b08 at 6:20 PM on Oct. 2, 2009

  • Generally, there is no cause for worry. A newborns stomach can only hold like a half an ounce at a time, so it isn't like she needs much early. If you haven't had your milk come in within about a week, then you can consult your LC, your doctor, and your child's doctor about steps you can and should be taking. Most women have about a 3-5 span before the milk comes in. First time mothers tend to err to the longer end of that. Until then, your child is perfectly fine on just the colostrum. To put things into perspective, your ten day old will have a stomach about the size of a large egg. And that is all that she will be able to eat at a time.

    Answer by Mom1Stepmom1 at 6:22 PM on Oct. 2, 2009

  • Something that you should think about is seeing a lactation specialist or just talking to someone at the hospital where you are planning on giving birth. A lot of times they have helpful people that can guide you through these times. Same with your doctors office, whoever is going to deliver your baby can also help you with this. And while I am a total BF momma, if you have to supplement, it isn't the end of the world, so don't let people make you feel bad if you have to. I didn't make enough milk for my little one, so I did have to supplement for a while.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:22 PM on Oct. 2, 2009

  • I will get hated for this BUT, I gave my baby ONE bottle a day to give my nips a break and to get him a full tummy for the first week he (they) were born. I did this with all three of my kids. My first child I supplemented a bit more and she latched on my breasts just fine. I BF all 3 of my kids for a year and more. Maybe I just got lucky but my babes turned out ok.

    I know you want to give your baby some relief, it might be ok, and it seems like your instincts are telling you to give him formula....go with it.

    Answer by 3gigglemonsters at 6:26 PM on Oct. 2, 2009

  • Oh yes Anon 6 22 I am glad you mentioned a Lactation consultant for her. I also saw one and she was wonderful.

    Answer by 3gigglemonsters at 6:28 PM on Oct. 2, 2009

  • colostrum is like a power bar for the baby. it has everything they need in it and nothing else so each little bit packs a big punch of nutrition

    Answer by jajamama at 6:28 PM on Oct. 2, 2009

  • OK, I will ask the hospital if they can send in a lactation specialist after labor- I think that would help as well. I am nervous.

    Answer by staciandababy at 6:31 PM on Oct. 2, 2009

  • Our hospital had a sign showing the size of a newborn's stomach- it was unbelievably tiny. All that it can handle at first is the small amount of colostrum, which is very densely packed with nutrients. Your body is designed for this- nature doesn't make babies starve! HTH!

    Answer by Freela at 6:46 PM on Oct. 2, 2009