One of the biggest issues early postpartum that I see among the patients that I work with is the idea that they have “no milk.” True milk insufficiency (no milk) among breastfeeding mothers is extremely rare, although it can be impacted by breast surgeries or maternal-infant illnesses. Milk supply is primarily determined by supply-demand. For example, the more often an infant feeds effectively at the breast (time at the breast does not always equal breastfeeding), the more milk the body will produce. In the first few days, you produce small amounts of colostrum, which typically is all your infant needs. Monitoring your infant’s output in those first few days can help reinforce that your baby is getting the nutrients that it needs.
By day 3-5, your milk will ‘come in’ (the colostrum transitions to mature milk and increases in volume) – this does not magically happen and is determined by supply-demand. I hear it often that patients are “waiting for the milk to come in.” When nothing comes in, they are extremely disappointed. If there has been little to no breastfeeding (or ineffective) in the first few days, your body is unlikely to continue making breastmilk (our bodies are smart and do not waste energy). You created life and trusted in your body for about 10 months, so trust that your body will do what it needs to do, but remember it’s not magic and it requires some work on your part. You got this!