Is there breast milk immediately available once I give birth?

It depends. Some mums have discharge during pregnancy and their colostrum would be available immediately. But others might not. So, we can’t say that everyone has or doesn’t have immediately. But, in general, most mothers don’t see a large amount.

Usually in the first few days, you would have colostrum and it would be enough for baby. It appears as a small amount of sticky, clear liquid. If baby is taking it out effectively, that small amount should be sufficient. But, even if the baby is not effective yet because he or she hasn’t acquired the skill yet, it is generally still safe because the baby has the fat which they will use initially for energy. That is why we can allow the baby to lose weight – up to 10% of their birth weight – in the early days.

The colostrum, which is usually clear and sticky, would transition into mature milk in a few days, usually by the third or fourth day.

Of course if the baby is crying a lot in those early days, this consumes more energy, and will result in the baby’s weight dropping below the allowed level. If that happens and the baby has hypoglycaemia, then the parents will need to use alternative options. For instance, donated human milk from family members. If we decide to use donated milk, we should be more responsible. The best is from family members because we can rest assured of the safety aspect and don’t have to do any blood tests.

Some mothers might be in the category who would have problems with producing milk, for example those going for Caesarean birth or those who might be on medication. They might face a delay in milk production.

If you are at risk of having problems, then the suggestion is to express your milk during pregnancy and collecting it and freezing it. I know it’s not that popular here, but in some hospitals, they do suggest this method to mothers who are at risk of having problems producing milk after delivery.

Excerpt from Answering breastfeeding questions ( Thots N Tots & SusuIbu.Com )

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