The First Stage of Lactation (Colostrum)

Here some fun facts for you! The reason your breasts changed size during pregnancy is because you already have milk in your breasts, ready to go!

Right now you are currently in a phase called lactation called Lactogenesis Stage I. During this stage, you are making a highly concentrated breast milk called colostrum. The colostrum is full of anti-oxidants, antibodies, and white blood cells (to start the process of repairing your baby’s leaky gut). All babies are born with a leaky gut, like a porous rock, so that these important components of the milk can pass through the digestive system and get right into their bloodstream. Your baby is born from a very sterile environment, to very non-sterile environment, especially if they’re born vaginally. The colostrum will protect your baby from our bacteria filled world, like giving them a big antibiotic shot.

The bumps on your areolas have also grown in size, and your areolas are now bigger and darker. Your baby will only be able to see contrast, so that is why you now have a bull’s-eye on your chest. Don’t worry; they won’t be like this forever. The bumps on your areolas are called Montgomery Glands. The almost undetectable fluid that is secreted serves as a lubricant, and smells like the amniotic fluid. So yes, your mom is right. Your baby can smell you and knows that you are there. They use their sense of smell to guide them to the breast.

Newborns do not get a lot of volume in the 1st few days, and they are born with their intestines full of this black tar looking poop called Meconium.

Because babies poop out this Meconium, even when they are only eating about 1 teaspoon per meal, all breastfed babies lose weight in the first 3-4 days.

During the colostrum phase babies just do a lot of sucking. They typically do 10-12 bursts of sucking in a row... suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, pause... suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, pause.. I’m getting really sleepy mommy... and I am asleep.

This is very common, because the baby is using a ton of effort for not a lot of return. A baby needs calories for strength and endurance, so we like to keep the baby alert and feeding by “politely” annoying them. This little trick is called the milk pump.

This handy “annoying aid” will wake that baby just enough that they will keep eating, and it will not stimulate any of the reflexes that can interrupt the feeding (for example: touching a babies cheek may cause the baby to pull off of the breast because of the reflex). Another great way to keep a baby awake is to increase the volume. How do you do that? Simply grab and squeeze the boob like a lemon. Not a massage, but literally grabbing a hold of a section of the breast and squeezing. Your breast is filled with tons of little sacks of milk, so you can’t grab a wrong spot!