I recently heard it said it takes 22-24 good feedings from the breast to help colostrum transition to mature milk (about three days worth of feedings). A good feeding means a pain free latch (tenderness is normal, stabbing pain is not), the nipple comes out of baby’s mouth round and not flattened or like a new lipstick tube, baby stays actively engaged where there is a difference between non nutritive sucking to stimulate the breast and nutritive sucking where audible swallows are heard.

Having a baby that is super sleepy at the breast, premature, has an immature suck, or a tongue tie, can all delay milk transitioning. It can take a lot of sucking to remove colostrum from the breast, like drinking a thick milkshake through a coffee stirrer. Babies have been drinking amniotic fluid in utero, but it was a constant flow of fluid. On the outside, for the first time, they need to draw milk into the mouth, use their tongue to move the milk to the back of the mouth, and swallow it without choking. Colostrum is thick, sticky and in a small volume so babies can learn how to safely do this action before being flooded with mature, freely flowing milk. It’s like the first time you go to a drinking fountain and you get sprayed in the face. It doesn’t make for a very pleasant experience.

Babies are often sleepy the first day after delivery. Keeping the skin to skin keeps them at the table and ready to eat when they wake up. The second day most babies was to feed a lot to make up for being sleepy the first day and this helps with the number of feedings needed to help practice swallowing and transition your milk.

– #GraceFull IBCLC Julie Matheney // @lalactation