Is your baby getting enough milk?
If only breasts had a built-in millilitre measure! Here’s how to judge your status as a cow.
Many new moms worry that their milk will be too weak or that they will not be able to produce enough milk. Breast milk cannot be “too weak” – it is naturally perfectly balanced, but there is a possibility that you may not “produce” enough milk. This is not a physical problem (except in very rare circumstances) as your body has the ability to make enough milk, but is often due to external influences.Some tips to ensure that you produce enough milk:
Too much of a good thing?
- Drink plenty of fluid, even while feeding – the more fluid, the more milk. Try avoiding drinks with caffeine or high citrus levels as these can affect the baby.
- A lack of rest could also affect milk production – so if your baby is asleep you need to sleep.
- Feed frequently and let your baby drink for as long as she needs to. Feed frequently and on demand as this stimulates the flow of milk.
- Make sure your baby is latched onto the breast properly – this is one of the main causes of low milk supply and of sore and cracked nipples. Your baby needs to have a large portion of the breast in her mouth and her jaw actions need to be strong.
Signs of a hungry baby
- If your breasts feel full and tender, and are not relieved when your baby starts feeding, then you may have too much milk in your ducts, which needs to be relieved to avoid engorgement or mastitis.
- Let your baby empty one breast completely before offering the second breast.
- Don’t “skip” a feed in the hope that production will slow down, this can make the fullness worse.
- Express a little after he has finished feeding, but only to a level of comfort.
- Massage your breast while under a hot shower and allow some milk to flow out. Don’t pull on or near the nipples, but rather rub downwards from your armpit to your nipple.
- Always wear a supportive bra – even when you are sleeping.
- Your baby does not begin to regain his birth weight after the first few days.
- Your breasts don't feel softer after feeds.
- Your baby is wetting fewer than six to eight nappies in a 24-hour period once he’s a week or so old.
- Your baby doesn't have a bowel movement at least once a day or is having small, dark stools five days or more after birth.
- He becomes more yellow, instead of less, after the first week.
Talk to the clinic sister, or make an appointment with a lactation consultant to help build your breastfeeding confidence and skill.