A supplement of Vitamin D is recommended for breastfed babies until they are getting enough of it from their food (see Vitamin D: Not your ordinary vitamin!)
The thick, yellowish milk that comes in the first few days after birth is called colostrum. Colostrum is very rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals—just what your newborn needs. It supplies large amounts of white blood cells and antibodies that protect your baby from infections. It also cleans her intestines of the residues that build up before birth.
Between the second and fifth day after giving birth, milk production increases rapidly. The milk becomes clearer and takes on a blueish – or yellowish-white colour. This is when your milk “comes in.” It is caused by hormonal changes and will happen even if you don’t breastfeed your baby or express your milk. If breasts are stimulated often during this period, including at night, milk seems to come in more quickly. Frequent stimulation also helps reduce discomfort if breasts are engorged.
Your milk changes over time to adapt to your baby’s needs as she grows. Milk also changes over the course of a feeding and according to the time of day.
Antibodies: Substances made by the body to fight off disease. Also called immunoglobulins.
Express: Pump or squeeze milk from the mother’s breast.