As a new mom, it can be worrisome when you are not sure if you are making enough milk for your baby. Here are some practical ways that you can know for sure.
First and foremost: if your baby is gaining weight well on breast milk alone, then you do not have a problem with milk supply. Remember that the feel of the breast, the frequency of nursing, the feeling of let-down, or the amount you are able to pump are not valid ways to determine if you have enough milk for your baby.
Perhaps baby hasn’t had a weight check recently, so you are not quite sure about the weight gain. Look at baby’s wet and dirty diapers. From birth to 6 weeks, baby should have about 6-8 wet diapers per day and 3-4 poopy diapers or more. Normal stool of a breastfed baby is usually yellow, loose, and seedy.
Sometimes babies will suddenly increase the frequency and/or length of nursings. This is most likely a growth spurt. A growth spurt will last a few days to a week and will increase your milk supply. During a growth spurt, don’t offer baby supplements. Supplementing will tell your body that the baby doesn’t need the extra milk, and your supply will drop. Keep in mind that many babies will willingly take a bottle even after they have a full feeding at the breast.
If you want to know how much milk your baby is getting during a typical nursing session, you can do a test weight with an IBCLC. This will probably reassure you that baby is getting plenty. However, if baby is not getting enough, the lactation consultant can help you try different things to increase your milk supply. If you have a gut feeling that something is wrong, it is best to meet with a Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
For establishing and maintaining milk supply, feed on demand (no scheduled feedings). If latch is painful and/or shallow, get help right away. Deep and comfortable latch will facilitate good milk transfer. Keep baby skin to skin as much as possible and wear your baby when you can. This will get you and your baby off to the best start with breastfeeding!
** Thank you to Danica Donnelly Photography and Jennifer Carney for the beautiful breastfeeding photos!
***Thank you, Lauren Pilger, IBCLC, for sharing these super helpful tips with us!
If you are in the Colorado Springs Area and you need lactation support, I highly recommend Lauren's services!
You can check out her website (http://www.wildflowerbreastfeeding.com/) or find her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Wildflowerbreastfeeding/).