Breastfeeding Day Two: What to Expect
How do you know what to do on day two of breastfeeding?? As an IBCLC, nurse, and 3 time mom, you might think that I have breastfeeding down to a science. While it’s true I have lots of tips and tricks, every breastfeeding experience can be so different! This series came about when I had my third baby. I wanted to share my experiences in real time and while I had another new breastfeeding journey fresh on my mind. So, this post about day two in the series covers the real experiences I had during my first week of breastfeeding!
(This post was originally a video. Check it out, here!)
Breastfeeding Day Two: Feeling Sore
The first 24 hours have passed. I hope you were able to relax a little and latch the baby. On day 2, you may be feeling a little bit sore from the birth. If you have found a grove with breastfeeding, way to go. But it’s only day two, and you probably haven’t. That’s okay, too!
Please make sure to ask for some help, especially if you are still at the hospital. Talk to the nurses and check in with the lactation consultant. Get all the advice that you can. Try to relax and breathe if you are struggling. It will get better.
Your hormones might be going a little crazy at this time. So, if you are crying for no reason or feeling emotional, this is very normal.
There are some babies that come out and just take off with breastfeeding. If that is your experience, then day 2 will look a lot like day one. You are latching and giving unlimited access to the breast or feeding on demand.
But, if things are not going well, read on!
It is also very common to have some nipple and breast tenderness on this day. Your little baby has been sucking on your nipples for a whole day now so they might be a little tender.
Now, if you’re having a lot of pain, noticing some cracks, bleeding, misshaped nipples (when your nipple looks like a football when it comes out of the baby’s mouth) or your just plain struggling, you need to find some help.
It is common to have SOME tenderness. My best way to describe it is like a sunburn, just a raw feeling.
Alternate the baby’s feeding position
- If you are tender, one of the best things you can do is to alternate some positions that the baby feeds. You could feed the baby across your body.
- Another option is the newborn hold. This seems to work best. This is where you hold the baby’s head in the palm of your hand leaving your other hand to maneuver other parts of their body. When your baby gets a bit older, you can move their head to lay in the crook of your arm, but as a newborn, they are to small to lay there. Just rest their head on your arm. Make sure you use pillows because your arm will get tired.
- Or you can try football hold. The head is again in the palm of your hand, but the body is tucked to the side of your body with the legs under your arm.
- You can also do laid back nursing where you lay back in a bed or a chair and the baby’s body lays on you and latches on as you recline. That is another great position to try.
Changing positions helps your nipples to be less sore because the baby will suck in different patterns when laid in a different position!
On Breastfeeding Day Two Should I Supplement with Formula?
It might be tempting on Day 2 to top off your baby with some formula. If there is a reason that your baby needs extra fluids, such as your little one has jaundice or your doctor has requested this, please follow their instructions.
But if your are worried that they are not getting enough and you are really committed to breastfeeding, please trust your body and the fact that it is making colostrum and doing its job.
It’s going to seem like they are eating all the time, and they are. They are digesting that teaspoon of fluid quickly and are needing constant refueling.
Be patient, trust your body and try to relax so that your milk can come in. The more you latch your baby, the faster your milk will come in. That is just going to do good things all around. So keep it up and try not to supplement if you don’t have to. Please know that you are doing all the right things to bring your milk into transition.
Is my baby getting enough to eat?
A great way to know if your baby is getting enough to eat is to check their diapers. They should be having 2 – 3 wet diapers on Day 2. Hopefully they are passing some stool as well.
If you are on Day 2, you have probably already dealt with that yucky tar poop. It’s literally like a 25 wipe deal to get it off their butts. (Hopefully you have a partner around to help you with that fun ordeal.)
But making sure that they are having wet and dirty diapers is a great way to tell that they are getting some milk and that is really all that they need right now.
You might also be monitoring their weight gain. It is really likely that they have lost weight. 10% is about the threshold and almost all babies lose some weight at the beginning. Try not to stress about that as you keep an eye on it. Standard guidelines say that they have about 2 weeks to gain that birth weight number back.
Once your milk transitions, you will see that weight come back up. Don’t worry if your little one has lost weight, that is expected to happen.
Breastfeeding Day Two: Recognizing Feeding Cues
Ok, you’ve had 24 hours with your baby and you are on Day 2 now. Hopefully you are starting to recognize some of their feeding cues. My little one’s cue to me is that he starts sucking on his hand. Once I hear that, I know he is hungry and if I wait too much longer he is going to be mad and then we are going to have some problems.
Try to catch your baby before they are crying and upset because that is really hard to latch on an upset baby.
Other Feeding Cues
Another common sign is rooting, where they are moving their head around as if they are looking for something. Sometimes their eyes are closed. If you can catch them in this state, that is an excellent time to latch them onto the breast.
Sometimes babies smack their lips or lick their lips or stick their tongue out.
Watch and see what signs your baby is giving you that they are hungry. Please don’t feel overwhelmed if you can’t always tell what they want. That is a really normal feeling as you are getting to know your new baby.
Even as an experienced mom, every baby is different and I have had to be patient with myself and with them. Sometimes I wait to long, or sometimes I feed them and they weren’t really hungry. this is a learning experience so be patient with yourself and your baby as you figure each other out.
The Milk Farm is Always Open on Breastfeeding Day Two
Offering unlimited access to the breast is great though and will help your transitioned milk to come in. I know that in the nights, it can feel dark, isolating and long and sometimes more frustrating, but know that there will be daylight again and that will give you a new sense of “I can do this.”
If you are feeling a little bit overwhelmed in the nights, ask for some help. You shouldn’t be alone, so if you are at home, have a partner, or the nurses if you are still in the hospital help you. It is normal to feel overwhelmed. You are not alone there.
You might still be having cramps while you nurse. This is totally normal. Cramping is usually associated with some bleeding as well. Very normal. Make sure you are watching that and that it isn’t too much bleeding.
Take Care of Yourself
If you can find a few times to step away from the baby, that would be great for you. You could have someone hold the baby while you shower or step away to have something to eat. There is nothing that says you have to be attached to your baby 24/7. Make sure that you take short spurs of time for your own mental health. When you come back, I promise, you will feel a bit refreshed. You are not in this alone! Hang in there on this Day 2!
For the whole series of what to expect in the first week of breastfeeding, check out these links!
Second Day(this post)