Breastfeeding Day Five: What to Expect
How do you know what to do on day five 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 five 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!)
You made it to day five of breastfeeding! Let’s talk about what you can expect today.
Hopefully by this fifth day you are starting to feel the groove. In my previous post, we spoke about engorgement and how to handle that. You are probably still feeling some of that so review that post if you need more ideas on what’s normal and not normal.
Breastfeeding Day Five: Your Baby is Cluster Feeding
You baby is probably eating about 10 – 12 times in 24 hours and that is super normal. There might be a point or two during the day when they are cluster feeding. Cluster feeding is when the baby is very hungry for several hours. They eat very regularly and often during those hours, then they will give you a stretch where they don’t eat as often. If you can help guide their cluster feeding into the last afternoon, evening, they may be able to give you a longer stretch in that first portion on your night. That may be really nice for you.
My little guy is on a pretty good schedule like that. Around 6 o’clock in the evening, he starts cluster feeding. He is just hungry and is eating every 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. My breasts definitely feel a bit softer at this time of day because I can tell he’s taking in a lot of milk. Then about 10 or 10:30 he falls asleep. The past couple of nights he has slept until about 2:30. That’s a solid four hours and I will take it!! Then he tends to like to cluster feed again in the morning.
Babies Have Their Own Schedule
A varied feeding schedule is very normal for baby. Try not to stick by a clock routine at this point. I know it’s tempting to figure out the 10 feedings during 24 hours means baby should be eating every 2 hours, with a longer stretch during the night, and that is very logical thinking… but babies are not logical. They do whatever the heck they want to do. So know that a varied feeding schedule is more common for little ones.
Try counting how many times your baby eats in a 24 hour period. This can give you a better idea if they are eating enough and help you identify those cluster hours.
Also look for the wet and dirty diapers. This is also a great indication if they are taking in enough milk. They should be having at least 5 wet and dirty diapers, but mostly likely more that that. If they are having less than that, you probably should let the pediatrician know.
You Might Recognize your Milk Letdowns on Breastfeeding Day Five
You are probably having some pretty noticeable let downs. Please note that some women never feel a let down and some women really feel letdowns. Each is normal. The way I describe my letdowns is the feeling you get when your leg falls asleep and then starts to wake up, that tingling burning sensation is what it feels like to me. That does get better and less noticeable as time goes on. So hang in there if you feel the letdowns strong. It won’t always be that way.
You might get letdowns spontaneously, too. If it has been awhile since your baby ate, you might have one happen. It would be a good idea to have some kind of breast pad or item in place to catch any leaking milk.
How Do I Catch Leaking Milk?
You can use disposable or reusable nursing pads. I definitely love to use reusable pads. You can easily throw them in the laundry and it’s no hassle. They are way more comfortable (I hate the diaper boob feeling of disposable ones.) You want something with a water resistant outside and a wicking absorbent inside.
I’ve bought some from Amazon and my favorite is the Bamboobies Breast Pads. They are a little expensive, but worth it because they work really well. I did try a cheaper brand, but did not like them because they didn’t wash well and they bunched up making the insides weird.
Pads are great for the random times that you leak especially if you are out and about.
But pads won’t save milk. If you are wanting to save your milk, you have a couple of options.
Ways to Save Milk
You can purchase a soft shell milk catcher. This shell has no suction and literally just sits in your bra to catch leaks. This milk catcher does have ventilation holes in it, so it’s not going to hold a lot and if you bend over, you will leak out those holes. But this is a great option when you don’t want any suction or stimulation, but just ant to catch a little leaking milk.
Another option that is really popular right now is the Haakaa breast pump. I have a love/hate relationship with the Haakaa. It’s super cool and it’s really cheap. It can be really useful for several things. It can also cause some problems if you use it too much.
The Haakaa is not like a traditional electric pump that goes on and off and provides a lot of stimulation and suction designed to empty the breast. However, it is still classified as a pump. I have a video on my website to see how to use the Haakaa and also how to put it on. The important thing to remember about using the Haakaa at this point is that you don’t want to overuse it.
Remember, pumping too much can lead to engorgement
I did use it once on day five, but only once and it was because I really needed some relief. Ideally, I think this is exactly what it is for in this time of your breastfeeding journey. You should not use this in every feeding to collect milk. You will probably cause your body to create an oversupply. This is a tricky situation to deal with, just as with undersupply, especially in the first couple of weeks when your milk supply has not regulated.
I know you are engorged on this day five, but if you put this pump on every time you feed, it will send the message to your brain that your baby needs more milk because baby is using what you are supplying at this time.
Use the Haakaa Sparingly (Especially on Breastfeeding Day Five)
When I used it the one time on day four and one time on day five, I got about 1 1/2 – 2 ounces, which is quite a bit. So I can see how see how you wouldn’t want to tell your brain to make that much milk extra on a regular basis. This is not the time to build your freezer stash. This Haakaa at this point is only to relieve unbearable pressure from engorgement.
I believe every mom could benefit from having a Haakaa. There are some great benefits later down the breastfeeding road where it is wonderful to use.
Make Your Own Milk Catcher
If you want to go the easy route, you can literally hold a cup under your breast while you are feeding on the other side. You probably will be leaking some milk and you can catch it in there. If you want to, you could feed that directly to your baby or put it in the fridge, freezer, baby’s bath, use it on your nipples if they sore, help with cradle cap or baby acne and rub it into dry skin on baby. Breast milk is really great for a lot of things.
Your Nipples Might Be Feeling Better on Breastfeeding Day Five
You nipples should be feeling a little bit better at this point. If you are having a lot of pain or trouble latching baby on, you need to contact a lactation consultant. You should not still be having a lot of pain or problems at this point.
Now, you are still learning, give yourself some grace, things are not going to be perfect every time here at day five. If you are in pain, cracked and have some concerns, contact your local lactation consultant. You can see if your hospital has one and there are also private practice lactation consultants. You could try Google for that.
Insurance will sometimes cover that if you have an IBCLC. Check and see if that’s an option for you. But get some help if you are struggling at this point, okay? It is way easier to fix problems early in this process than to let them drag out and then they become big problems and they are a lot harder to deal with.
Things to Watch for on Breastfeeding Day Five
The last thing I will mention is some things to watch out for. You want to be on the lookout for clogged ducts. (When a little bit of milk clogs up a duct and feels like a frozen peas size lump) The best thing to do is to massage that area while your baby is eating. Also, if you can change up the positions that you feed your baby, cross cradle, football hold, side lying and laid back nursing, it will help empty the breast in different ways and hopefully avoid that. So if you start feeling hard spots, massage those out so that they don’t get infected.
If they do get infected, that is something we call mastitis. If you have mastitis, you will notice a red and tender spot on your breast. Usually it’s just on one side because it’s a duct that was clogged and then got infection. You will probably have a fever and feel really terrible like you have the flu.
Mastitis is a systemic infection so it effects your whole body. You definitely need to find some help with a lactation consultant, your OB, or go in to your health care provider to be evaluated. You will need help to treat that. There are some other natural options to try first if you have a mild case, but I usually always send my moms if for help with this situation.
You Are Doing Great!
Day five is not a bad day. It might even be a good day! Hopefully you are starting to feel somewhat comfortable and day six and day seven should get easier and easier.
Check out this whole series, linked below!
Fifth Day(this post)