You have the ability to make milk. It starts long before your newborn arrives.
In your very first weeks as a fetus, mammary buds began forming, like a small tree. (For boys, too). During puberty these glands grew more in response to female hormones. During pregnancy, growth begins. However, the placenta sends a hormonal message that inhibits milk-making milk. You don’t need it yet, the body is focused on growing the baby first.
As soon as your baby is born, then the placenta after that, the message changes to “Bring the milk, the baby’s here”. There is no need to ‘wait for your milk to come in’. It’s on its’ way as soon as your baby is born. If your baby is born early, your preterm milk is just right for your preterm baby.
Right from the start, you have what your baby needs. It’s true.
On the first day you produce about 100 milliliters of colostrum. On the first day, your baby’s stomach can hold about ten milliliters at a time. Ten feedings at ten milliliters each is 100 milliliters. Your baby will feed often and you will have enough. (One milliliter is about one teaspoon.)
All that nursing includes holding and cuddling, ideally, skin to skin. This raises your prolactin levels which promotes milk production. Frequent suckling also stimulates more milk production. See how well this works?
Skin to skin keeps your baby warm and calm. Thus, your baby doesn’t burn extra calories. Suckling causes your uterus to contract so you don’t bleed too much. You help your baby and your baby helps you. Mothers and babies work well together.
These basic principles work for sick and premature babies, with some adaptations. Some hormonal imbalance conditions may inhibit milk production. Severe blood loss, retained placenta and stress can, too. Let’s address your concerns and make the most of your natural abilities to make milk.