There are several signs that indicate that the milk is coming in and these can be helpful when assessing the amount of milk a mother is able to make.
1) The breasts feel different
To make milk, a lot of blood must flow to the breasts. The breasts will also now hold milk until the baby breastfeeds. All this activity may result in breasts that are:
- Tender with lumps throughout
While it can be a little uncomfortable, filling is a good sign. Mothers who have a lot of filling tend to have a very good milk supply.
There is a range of fullness for normal breasts as the milk comes in. Smaller breasts can get quite full, while mothers with larger breasts may not notice as much filling.
Breastfeeding effectively when the baby is hungry is usually all that is needed to settle the discomfort of milk coming in.
2) Clear colostrum is replaced by creamy milk
As the milk comes in, the clear, yellow colostrum has been replaced by a yellowish, creamy milk.
3) Milk is produced in larger amounts
As the milk comes in, it is present in larger amounts. Mother may notice:
4) Armpit swelling
Sometimes there is breast tissue in the mother’s armpit and, when the milk comes in, this tissue will fill as well. The mother will feel lumps in her armpits and these can range in size. Other than being tender, these are generally harmless and are a sign of a good milk supply. They show there is a lot of milk tissue and that it is responding well to the birth of the baby.