You start to make colostrum at about 16 weeks pregnant and so you will have colostrum now (and even if the baby is premature you have the colostrum ready and waiting for your baby).

It is true that colostrum is very small in quantity but this is how it is meant to be. Remember that your baby has never coordinated the sucking, swallowing and breathing before. He can only manage to learn this with small amounts of milk. In fact if you give formula on day 1 most babies just throw it back up again because they can not handle such large quantities.

It is the birthing of the placenta that allows your milk to increase. The placenta has hormones in it that stop the milk from increasing while you are pregnant. Whether you have a virginal delivery or a c-section you will also give birth to the placenta and so your milk will increase.

The milk usually increases on day 3 or day 4. Generally this depends on how well your baby is feeding. A really good feeder will bring the milk in earlier than a baby who is struggling to work out the coordination of the sucking, swallowing and breathing. (This makes sense as these babies need more practice with smaller volumes.)

This beautiful system is upset when you supplement your baby with formula top ups. If the baby can drink the top up with no problem then it is fine for your milk to increase. But your body and the baby get out of sync. Your body thinks it needs to slow down the increase in the milk because the baby isn’t feeding enough at the breast.

Most foods recommended for confinement food (the world over) are high in two minerals: calcium and iron. This is true of Chinese confinement foods too. The example I know the best is “ginger vinegar”. Mothers start to eat this on the day 12 whether they had a normal birth or a c-section. In fact there is a special ceremony that the baby has before the mother starts to eat it. Ginger vinegar is very high in both calcium and iron. Remember these special foods are not to make better milk for the baby (the milk quality is always good) but rather to keep the mother healthy.

Best wishes,