Many times when a woman is asked why she stopped breastfeeding her newborn her answer is “I wasn’t making enough milk”. Although this is the case for a few women, the majority of women do make enough milk for their babies. Remember, we are mammals and our bodies were made specifically to make nutrition for our offspring.
Still, the thought that we aren’t giving our babies enough food is terrifying! I know from personal experience. When you watch another newborn suck down a 3oz bottle of formula and you have no idea what your baby is getting, doubt is sure to set in.
Here are some signs that your baby is getting enough milk:
- After day 3 of life, your baby has a poop every 24 hours
- By the end of day 5, their poop should be yellow like mustard, no longer black and tarry
- Baby should have about 6 wet diapers a day
- Baby is gaining weight. This can be determined at his or her check ups
To establish a good milk supply you will have to be diligent and pretty much become a milkmaid… Your breast feeding baby has to eat every 2-3 hours at least. Do not put him on a schedule, allow him to eat “on demand”. This means whenever he is hungry. This allows our bodies to make the appropriate amount of milk for our little one. Supply & demand!
Here are some tips:
- Learn your baby’s hunger cues. She will do things such as bringing her fist to her mouth, stick out her tongue, suck on something, root and squirm. If she is crying, she is already very hungry. Crying is a late hunger sign.
- Whenever baby shows these cues, feed him. Even if it’s only been 30 minutes since you last nursed him. Don’t be ashamed to feed in public! We talked about this a couple weeks ago. So, keep a nursing cover with you for your comfort level.
- Don’t wait for your breasts to fill up and become hard before feeding. This makes it harder for baby to latch.
- You can start pumping your milk especially if you will need to leave baby with someone else. That way she can still get the best (moms milk). But remember to pump AFTER nursing your baby.
- Baby gets more milk when he suckles than you will get with a pump. So that is not an accurate depiction of how much you are producing.
Remember your body was made for this! If you are having issues, see your hospital’s lactation consultant. They are valuable resources who can get you and baby over the hump! If you are questioning your baby’s growth or recognize that she is not having enough wet or poopy diapers call her pediatrician and make an immediate appointment.
From your friendly neighborhood nurse.