How is it that responsible medical professionals are telling women to give (free) formula to 2 day old babies “until their milk comes in”? I mean… I’m speechless.
I’ve been watching too much Bringing Home Baby.
For the record and in case you don’t know, THIS is how breastfeeding works. In the first 2 days, your baby needs only a few teaspoons of milk. And it needs to be YOUR MILK!
Inborn suckling behaviors initiate the first flow of nourishment. Immediately after birth, as the newborn licks the nipple, nerves in the mother’s breast carry signals to her brain, triggering the release of prolactin and oxytocin. Oxytocin helps contract the uterus, facilitating birth of the placenta and a consequent drop in progesterone and estrogen levels. This new hormonal climate activates the production of colostrum and, several days later, full lactation.
Until the mature milk “comes in,” baby feeds on colostrum–a truly miraculous substance. For one thing, colostrum provides crucial protection against bacterial, viral, and parasitic infection. Although human infants derive some immunological protection transplacentally, they are born immunologically immature and depend, for a broad spectrum of immunity, on the Secretory IgA immunoglobulin that is present in high amounts in colostrum. In addition, colostrum functions as a laxative, helping baby pass the black, tarry first stools known as meconium. Early passage of meconium stimulates the excretion of bilirubin (a by-product of the breakdown of fetal hemoglobin), which in turn helps prevent jaundice.
Because colostrum is such a boon to newborn health, immediate and ongoing mother-baby contact is essential. Supplemental feedings that are not medically indicated are counterproductive.