Many moms worry about making enough milk to feed their babies. But, most women can make plenty of milk for their babies no matter how small or big their breasts are or if their nipples stick out or are flat. Your breasts make milk in response to your baby’s suckling. The more your baby breastfeeds, the more milk your breasts will make. When you are feeding your baby on demand and emptying your breasts (either through the baby feeding or pumping) your breasts will continue to make milk. To better empty your breasts:
- Use breast massage and compression
- Offer your baby both breasts at each nursing session
- Pump after nursing if your bay does not remove all the milk from your breasts. Your breasts will soften when the milk is completely gone.
To be sure, your baby is getting enough milk you will notice
Weight gain. Newborns will typically lose some of their birth weight in the first few days, but should be back to their birth weight by 2 weeks after birth. Weight gain in the best evidence that your baby is getting enough milk.
Stools. In the first month, your baby has at least three stools (feces) a day that will lighten from a dark color to a yellow-mustard color by the 5th day after birth.
Frequent Nursing. As your baby gets older, you may find that they nurse more often. This does not mean that your supply is low, usually it is just fine. Reasons for this increased need to breastfeed:
- Growth spurts, which can happen when your baby is around 2-3 weeks, 6 weeks, and 3 months old, can cause your baby to want to breastfeed longer and more often. Do not worry, follow your baby’s lead during these times and feed them when they are showing that they are hungry. Your supply will meet the demand of your growing little one and you will likely be back to your usual routine in no time.
You will hear your baby swallow or gulp.
Wet diapers. Your baby will wet 5-7 diapers a day. Note that wet diapers alone are not enough to tell if your baby is getting enough milk. A wet diaper, regular stools, and consistent weight gain are the best ways to tell how your baby is doing.
If you are still concerned that you are not producing enough milk, you can:
- Make sure your baby is latched on and positioned well.
- Breastfeed often and let your baby decide when to end the feeding.
- Offer both breasts at each feeding. Have your baby stay at the first breast as long as they are still sucking and swallowing. Offer the second breast when the baby slows or stops.
- Avoid giving your baby formula or cereal in addition to your breast milk, especially in the first 6 months of life. If you need to supplement your baby’s feeding, try using a spoon, cup, or dropper filled with your breast milk.
- See a lactation consultant for help. To find a lactation consultant near you see http://www.ilca.org/why-ibclc/falc