Breastfeeding · Nutrition

Do I have enough breast milk to feed my baby?

newborn baby breastfeeding

Almost all mothers go through a period when they think they don’t have enough breast milk.  Sometimes mothers worry about this soon after the birth of their baby.  Other times it is after breastfeeding is well established. The good news is that most women have more than enough breast milk to feed their baby.

Get off to a good start!

Breastfeed right after birth. Your baby is awake and ready to learn.  Breastfeeding early will help you make more breast milk.  Colostrum is the first breast milk your body will produce. It is thick like honey, yellow in colour, high in calories and small in amount.  This is all your baby needs right now.   At this point, your baby’s stomach is only the size of a cherry!  By day three or four, it’ll grow to the size of a walnut and at two weeks to the size of an apricot.  This is why your baby wants to feed often.  Breast milk also digests quickly so breastfed babies need to eat frequently.

As you continue to breastfeed over the next few days your breast milk will become white in colour and increase in amount.

How to tell if your baby is getting enough breast milk:

1. Weight gain – Your baby is getting enough milk if they are gaining weight.

Your baby should:

  • return to birth weight by day 10
  • shows a pattern of weight gain by day 5
  • gain at least 20-35 grams (2/3 – 1 1/4oz) a day in the first 3 to 4 months

2. Wet and dirty diapers – You can also tell if your baby is getting enough breast milk by counting the number of wet and dirty diapers.  A baby that is feeding well will be peeing and pooing well too!

More signs that breastfeeding is going well:

  • your baby has a loud cry
  • your baby’s mouth is wet and pink
  • your baby’s eyes look alert
  • your baby moves actively
  • your baby comes off the breast looking relaxed and sleepy
  • your breasts feel softer and less full after breastfeeding

As your baby grows, the number of times your baby feeds and/or the length of the feeds may change. These changes do not mean that you are not producing enough breast milk to meet your baby’s needs.

An increase in feeding may signal a growth spurt.  These are periods of time when your baby grows more quickly and will need more breast milk.  Breastfeed more often when your baby seems hungry.  The more you breastfeed the more breast milk you will make.

A shortened feeding time may happen as a child gets older. An older child takes breast milk faster than a newborn.

Don’t worry if your breasts feel soft, they will still make enough breast milk

Still don’t think you have enough milk?  Contact your health care professional or visit a breastfeeding clinic.

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