Milk whipping: what it is, when it arrives, what are the symptoms

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Catherine Le Nevez
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Milk whipped

One of the first concerns of a new mother concerns the arrival of milk: the famous milk whipping. How can we understand that the whipped milk is coming?

In this article

  • What is it
  • Benefits of colostrum
  • When it arrives and how to get it there
  • Symptoms
  • What to do if your breasts hurt
  • fissures
  • Whipped milk in case of abortion
  • Milk whipped after caesarean section
  • How long does the milk rise last?
  • If the milk does not come

What is the milky way

La whipped milk it is the beginning of the production of "mature" breast milk by the mammary gland.

When does the milky rise arrive?

This event happens usually 3-4 days after delivery (but the times are very variable from mother to mother), recognizable by the fact that the breasts tend to become:

  • hot,
  • tense and turgid,
  • often painful.

"One of the newborn's first instincts is to look for the mother's breast, both to feed and to keep the bond with the mother united", explains Antonella Bastianelli, midwife at the San Camillo Forlanini Hospital in the city.

“The sooner this contact occurs, the sooner it accelerates production of oxytocin and prolactin, the two main hormones responsible for the production of breast milk».

After the colostrum and the arrival of the whipped, the body begins to produce the so-called transition milk.

Colostrum, because it is perfect for newborns

However, in the first feedings of breastfeeding, the newborn does not suck the actual milk but the colostrum, a thick and viscous liquid, varying in color from yellow to orange, low in fat and rich in sugars, proteins, vitamin A and antibodies. . As explained in the dossier Breastfeeding: between art, science and nature of the Ministry of Health, it is the perfect food for the first hours and first days of life of the newborn, because it is very digestible but has a high nutritional power, therefore it helps to contain the physiological decline.

In addition, its laxative power helps the newborn to expel the first few stools (meconium) and excess bilirubin, reducing the risk of jaundice. Finally, its rich set of antibodies helps protect the little one from the risk of infections.

«Within a few days - explains the midwife - the colostrum changes its composition and gradually reaches that of mature milk: proteins and mineral salts decrease, while fats increase ».

Read also: Feces of the newborn

When the milky way arrives and how to get it there

With the name of whipped milk it is therefore called the real ascent of breast milk breast, which is whiter and richer in nutrients. «The milky rise usually arrives between two and four days after childbirth »: in some women the milk is immediately abundant while for others it is necessary to wait a few more days.

However, it must be said that the evolution times from colostrum to mature milk can also be very variable from mother to mother. For all, however, the recommendation to encourage the arrival of milk is always the same: attach the baby to the breast as soon as possible after delivery.

Whipped milk, the symptoms

In addition to the timing, the symptoms of rising milk may also differ from woman to woman. Some do not experience significant changes, but typically there may be:

  • turmoil breast, with a feeling of heaviness, heat and tension, sometimes even a little painful;
  • appearance of a lattice of bluish veins on the surface of the breast;
  • feeling like of "pins" inside the breast (more annoying than painful);
  • chills, perhaps even in very intense waves. "Chills can affect not only the breasts but also other parts of the body such as the back, arms and legs."

What to do if the breast hurts

Breast pain upon arrival of milk may depend on the presence of a breast engorgement, which occurs precisely when the mother produces more milk than the baby can suck.

In this case, the first thing to do is breastfeed the baby often, so as to 'gush' the breast. Old remedies that allow you to can also be helpful thin the milk. «In particular - says Bastianelli - the advice is to take a towel, wet it with hot water and make some compresses at the base of the breast. In fact, with the transmission of heat the milk becomes more fluid ». Also with the help of your hands you can try to let out some liquid so as to decongest sore breasts ".

«But not to use the breast pump to stimulate an engorged breast". The breast pump, of course, becomes necessary in the case of a premature baby housed in an incubator: "In this case, the mother, not having the baby with her, can use the breast pump which performs the sucking role".

Read also: Breastfeeding without problems: how to solve the most common ailments

Beware of fissures

Even if latching on to the breast is something that the newborn does instinctively, already in the first moments after birth, it does not necessarily mean that he will be able to do it correctly right away. Correct attachmentHowever, it is essential to avoid the formation of fissures, small cracks on the nipple that can even lead to bleeding.

The really important aspect concerns the way the baby takes the breast in his mouth: the lips must be wide open and turned out like a sucker. Much of the areola, and not just the nipple, must be in the baby's mouth and no clicking should be heard while the baby sucks. Instead, they are signs that the baby is effectively sucking one sucking slow and deep and one swallow visible or audible.


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The whipped milk in case of abortion

After a late miscarriage it can happen that the milk supply still appears: usually medicines, such as tablets or cortisone, that inhibit it are prescribed.

Milk whipped after caesarean section

In women who have given birth with a cesarean it is quite normal for the milk to arrive a few days late and be later: it can take up to 5-7 days.

How long does the milk rise last?

The duration is a lot variable from woman to woman: it can last 12 hours, as well as last up to 4 days.

If the milk does not come

If the milky whipping is late in coming, «the most important thing to do is latch the baby to the breast to stimulate the production of prolactin. According to some studies, the production of prolactin seems to be higher at night: at night, therefore, keep the child as close as possible, especially in the first days. The advice is also that of beer Very".

Who to ask for help

If there are difficulties or the new mother feels "lost" among too many conflicting indications, the best thing to do is to contact a breastfeeding expert as soon as possible, who will assess the situation and help her understand how to resolve any problems.

There are various realities that mothers can turn to: l'hospital in which they gave birth, i territorial consultants (even if they are not always present), IBCLC breastfeeding experts, which are the only ones to receive official international training.

There are also various associations who can offer help, such as the Leche League or the Mami, the Del Paeseno Maternal Breastfeeding Movement.

Questions and answers

What is the milky way?

Lactation is the beginning of the production of "mature" breast milk by the mammary gland.

What is colostrum?

It is a viscous liquid, perfect food for the first hours and the first days of life of the newborn, because it is very digestible but has a high nutritional power.

  • breast milk
  • first year
  • breastfeeding
  • colostrum
  • weeks 1-13
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