In the first month after birth, your milk supply is switching itself on and learning how to make bigger and bigger quantities of milk each day. This continues until it gets to the point where it can make exactly what your baby needs to keep them growing over the next 6 months.
Usually, this happens by babies feeding at the breast as often as they want; this is usually between 8-12 times per day.
Our milk supply starts out as colostrum. Colostrum is usually very yellow in colour and is much thicker than the milk you will have a few days after birth. Colostrum is also really tiny in volume. This is totally normal.
On day one, baby may only be drinking about a teaspoon of your milk at each feed! But, between 24-72 hours after birth, your milk will “come in.”
This means that the volume of milk your breasts produce will RAPIDLY grow! By day four, you will be making about 400ml each day. By day 7-14 you will probably be making about 700-800ml each day.
This time of milk growth is very important. What your breasts are doing in this first month is making sure that the milk cells can produce enough milk for the next 6 months and beyond.
Usually, the amount of milk you are making by the end of the first month is what you will keep making each day for the next 6 months. Yes, you heard that right, babies drink about the same amount every day from the age of 1 month to 6 months! And, they still double their weight from birth! Amazing.
Why Use a Rental Hospital Grade Breast Pump?
If a mother is not able to breastfeed her baby fully in the first month, it is really important that she stimulates her breasts with the correct expression method. Using the right method ensures she switches on the milk making cells from the beginning and can make enough milk by the end of the first month.
It can be difficult for some mothers to increase their milk supply after this first month. The volumes we “tell” our breasts to make in the first month are what we usually continue to make thereafter.
Babies drink, an average, 800ml each day from 14 days – 1 month and onwards. Our breasts need to be able to make around this volume each day from the same time.
Research has shown that the best way to reach these volumes of milk is by using a multi-user hospital grade pump. Symphony PLUS is, therefore, what Medela recommends any mum to use if she is needing to express to build milk supply in the first month.
What is So Special About the Symphony PLUS?
The Symphony PLUS has many scientific studies behind it and is used in hospitals worldwide.
Recently, Symphony had an upgrade when a new pumping pattern was developed specifically to help mums in the first few days after birth whose babies were not yet able to breastfeed.
The INITIATE Program
Straight after birth, our breasts produce colostrum; a thick, sticky type of milk, which babies love… and so too do their tummies!
When babies breastfeed in the first few days after birth, they use a different sucking pattern to when the milk “comes in.” Medela has created a pumping pattern which copies this sucking pattern. This pumping program is called INITIATE and it is used in the first few days.
The MAINTAIN Program
Once a mum’s milk “comes in,” she will switch to the MAINTAIN program. This pumping program is based on the sucking patterns of a breastfeeding baby once the milk has “come in.”
Studies have shown that, when mums use the INITIATE program, they can express 67% more milk by day 7 compared to using the MAINTAIN pumping pattern alone.
The Symphony PLUS contains both these pumping programs and is designed for those mums whose baby’s are not yet ready to breastfeed fully or at all.
Babies may not feed well or at all in the first few days or weeks for a variety of reasons. The most important things to remember are:
- Initiate and build your milk supply in the first month using a Symphony PLUS.
- After that, maintain your milk supply with either the Symphony PLUS or a personal use pump like Medela’s Swing Maxi. If your baby is in the special care nursery after the first month, it is still advised to continue using the Symphony PLUS instead of a personal use pump.
- Have daily skin to skin contact with your baby. It feels lovely for both of you and it also helps your baby to learn to breastfeed. It may even help to boost your milk supply.
- Get as much support as possible from your health professional to help you and your baby breastfeed.
Where Can I Hire a Symphony Pump?
Medela have their own hire information page where you can type in your postcode and find your nearest pump hire shop.
Have you ever rented a Medela breast pump? What was your experience? What other breastfeeding tips can you offer to the mums in our community? Let’s have a chat!