Breastfeeding Day Three: What to Expect

How do you know what to do on day three of breastfeeding?? As an IBCLC, nurse, and third 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 three in the series covers the real experiences I had during my first week of breastfeeding!

(This blog post was originally a video. Check it out, here!)

Breastfeeding Day Three Can be the Hardest Day!

This third day is notoriously the hardest day, so prep your mind for that! For most moms, this is a tricky one. There are a couple of reasons for that.

First of all, your baby blues and crazy hormones are probably in full swing. This is a day when moms get emotional and might feel like things are falling apart. Please know that a lot of that is just hormones. Hang in there. If you are crying for no reason, it’s totally okay. It gets better!

Second, this is also a common day for your milk to start transitioning. Often you will hear of “milk coming in”, but really you have had milk the whole time. It starts as colostrum then it transitions and then becomes mature milk.

Third, on this day, your baby is hungry. This might be adding a little to the frustration. You baby’s stomach has grown a little. Remember, your body should be making what you need, but this is a tricky day. You might notice that you are making a bit more quantity, which is great, but the baby is still probably wanting to eat all the time. That is very normal.

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Check for a Good Latch

Hopefully you have figured out a good latch by now. If you haven’t, you definitely need to get some help with that. You don’t want to continue on with a bad latch. That will cause problems for both you and the baby. Having a good latch will help baby get a good milk supply and also not damage your nipples. This is super important!

Sore Nipples

You are probably having some sore nipples. That’s very normal to have a little tender or sore or a raw feeling. You should not be having a lot of pain, cracked nipples, or bleeding. Reach out to a lactation consultant if you’re having pain, cracked nipples or bleeding!

Products that Can Help with Sore Nipples

  • A traditional one is a lanolin cream. This is a thick heavy cream that will act as a barrier and help keep the nipple moist. A lot of hospitals will give this to you but it is also inexpensive if you want to have some extra tubes on hand.
  • A more organic option is The Earth Mama Organic Nipple Cream. This cream is actually lanolin free and is wonderful if you are using cloth reusable nursing pads. Lanolin really messes up the cloth pads. It gets caught in the fabric making it resistant to absorbing milk. This nipple cream is not as sticky as the lanolin. I tend to trade back and forth depending on what my nipples need.
  • You can also use breast milk. At the end of a feeding, if you hand express a couple drops of breast milk and rub it around on the nipple and then let it air dry it works great. This process is probably the best thing that you can do.
  • I have also found a product from Medela called the SoftShell. It’s just a soft shell that has an opening in the back for your nipple and some air ducts up on top. All you do is just stick this in your bra and it makes it so nothing is touching your nipple. It’s just floating in the air. I found this very soothing sometimes when I didn’t want to put my bra back over my nipple and have it rubbing there. You could also use this to catch some leaking milk. There is no suction on it like the Haakaa pump . The Medela SoftShell is not going to hold much milk, and don’t bend over or the milk will leak out, but it was really soothing to let my nipple breathe!

Experiment with Different Positions

Different positions can also be a great way to ease sore nipples. My favorite way to nurse is sideline nursing. We lay in a bed and his little head is right on my arm. We are both laying down belly to belly on our sides. He can access the breast that way. I can just scoop him up and we can both rest.

Please make it a safe environment, no extra blankets or pillows. You probably don’t want to use this position on a couch or chair where baby could get trapped in-between anything.

Research some other nursing positions and try some of them out. What works best for one person may not work best for you so experiment with a few different options!

Breastfeeding Day Three: Trust Your Instincts

You are probably home from the hospital by day three, so this could be the first day on your own. This could be adding to your stress level. You can do this. Trust your instincts. Babies are very resilient. Go with the flow and remember that it’s a learning curve. You’re doing fine.

The best thing that you can do to help bring your mature milk in quicker is to give unlimited access to the breast. I know that it is so hard. You are trying to heal, and baby wants to eat all the time. It’s a lot. Clear your schedule and just focus on feeding that baby whenever they hungry.

You Cannot Nurse Your Baby Too Much!

You can not nurse your baby too much, but you can nurse them too little. Don’t worry that you are training bad habits. You might have to adjust your expectations and get in the mindset that you are feeding baby and taking care of yourself right now.

Need a Little Break?

If you need a little break and a rest for your nipples, you can hand express some milk and feed your baby with some other options. Please don’t feel that you need to go straight to a bottle.

  • You can use a small medicine cup. Your baby will lap the milk up like a kitten.
  • You can use a syringe very slowly
  • You could also finger feed them. Dip your finger into the milk and let them suck it off your finger.

The Most Important Thing for Breastfeeding Day Three: Be Patient!

I think the most important take away from Day 3 is to just be patient with yourself. Take care of your mental health. This is a hard day and the most common day that I see moms posting in my Facebook group asking for help. They feel that their life is falling apart and they have a hungry baby and it’s a lot. You are not alone.


Take care of your mental health and step away when you can. Ask for help from a partner, mother, or friend. Take short breaks away from your baby if that is helpful for you. You can do this! See you on Day Four!

For the whole series of what to expect in the first week of breastfeeding, check out these links!

Breastfeeding Week One

First Day

Second Day

Third Day (this post)

Fourth Day

Fifth Day

Breastfeeding Day Three: What to Expect