Almost all mothers worry about their milk supply, especially when they first begin breastfeeding. This is normal. In fact one of the most common reasons why women stop breastfeeding is because they feel like they don’t have enough milk for their baby. If you are worried about your milk supply, it is important to determine first and foremost if your milk supply is in fact low. This article will help you work out if your milk supply is in fact low. It also nicely summarizes common causes of breast milk insufficiency, and gives practical tips on how to boost your milk supply if needed.
HOW CAN I TELL IF MY MILK SUPPLY IS LOW?
Often mothers think that their milk supply is low when it really isn’t. Here are 4 tell tail signs that your baby is getting enough milk.
1- Weight Gain
If baby is gaining weight well on mom’s milk alone, then baby is getting enough milk. A 5-10% weight loss during the first 3-4 days after birth is normal. Baby should regain birth weight by 2 weeks. Baby should gain an ounce per day in the first three months of life and half an ounce a day from age 3-6 months.
2- Wet Diapers
Expect one wet diaper on day one, increasing to 5-6+ sopping wet disposable diapers after the first week (7-8+ cloth diapers). To feel what a sufficiently wet diaper is like, pour 3 tablespoons (45mL) of water into a clean diaper (if baby wets more often, then the amount of urine per diaper may be less). Urine should be pale and mild smelling.
3- Dirty Diapers
Expect 2-3+ dirty diapers per day (after day 4). After the first month the stools may become less frequent. Some babies will even go a day or two between stools. Stools should be yellow (no meconium) by day 5 and the size of a quarter (2.5cm) or larger. The normal stool of a breastfed baby is usually yellow and is loose.
4- Other Positive Signs
After feeding, mom’s breast feels softer and baby seems reasonably content. Baby is alert, active and meeting developmental milestones.
If there are problems in any of these areas you may have a low milk supply. In these cases it is important to get evaluated by your health care provider so they can help determine the next course of action. It is important to address low milk supply issues as it can lead to malnutrition, and growth/developmental delays.
WHAT CAUSES INSUFFICIENT MILK PRODUCTION?
WHAT CAN I DO TO BOOST MY MILK SUPPLY?
Best of luck to all you mommies out there! Remember, worrying about your milk supply is common, you’re not alone! Working with a qualified health care professional is key during this time, as they will help ensure that your baby is an efficient feeder and gaining weight, and that you’re doing everything you can to boost your milk supply.
Naturopathic Newborn Care and Well-Baby Programs: http://www.healingcedarwellness.com/children--babies-health.html
Dr. Meghan Stobbs, ND
Healing Cedar Wellness
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