Many women worry about how much milk they have and if their baby is getting enough.
Perceived low milk supply is the most common reason for mums to wean early; yet it is uncommon for mothers not to be able to produce enough milk. Most women produce enough breast milk, however some mothers cannot breastfeed for physical/hormonal reasons, and I encourage you to have a lactation consult to have a full assessment and discuss all options if you want to breastfeed but have been told you don’t have enough milk or have a medical/ hormonal issue and you can’t.
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Here are some signs to look for to make sure your baby is getting enough milk:
- Do your breasts feel full before a feed and softer after a feed?
- Can you hear your baby swallowing milk?
- Does your baby have at least six pale yellow, wet nappies per day?
- Does your baby have regular soft bowel motions? Babies under 6 weeks of age usually have at least 3-4 bowel motions in a 24-hour period, however if they are fully breastfed they may go longer. Bowel motions may change as babies get older. The colour should be similar to mustard/peanut paste.
- Is your baby gaining weight? Do they look like they are growing? Are they starting to fill out in their clothes?
There will be some periods of time when your baby seems fussier and wants to feed a lot more than usual. This does not necessarily mean you have low supply. They may have tummy pain, be over tired, need a thirst quencher, or have a fussy day where they snack feed more.
Your baby may be having a “growth spurt” or a “leap”. Once breast milk supply is established it doesn’t increase further, but your baby may feed more often at times.
If your older baby is unsettled, it may not be because they require more milk; they may be teething, or need comfort.
Remember babies like to suck! They suck their hands when they are tired/hungry and upset. They will root for the breast when they can smell milk!
Giving bottles may lead to a negative impact on your supply as baby then does not demand the way they normally would. If your breasts are not emptied regularly, this can lead to a reduction in supply.
If you have any questions about supply or the way your baby is feeding please call me!
Eve Coote (Best Start Lactation Consultancy)