Making Enough Milk?
YOU CAN DO IT!
Breastfeeding can be challenging, but you can do it!
Some mothers believe they cannot produce enough milk for their babies, but in reality, most women are able to make the milk their baby needs without giving formula.
A low milk supply is a common concern that can be fixed with some patient persistence.
Contact a Peer Counselor at your local WIC clinic for more info on breastfeeding!
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Supplementing with Formula
Giving formula in addition to breastmilk causes your baby to feed less at the breast. It also tells your body to decrease the milk supply.
Giving a Bottle
It can take up to one month for your baby to learn to breastfeed. If you start using a bottle too early, the baby may begin to prefer the bottle over the breast causing a decrease in milk supply.
Feeding your baby on a schedule rather than when they are hungry can cause a decrease in milk production by telling your body you do not need the milk.
Switching Breasts too Soon
Let your baby finish feeding completely on one breast and then switch to the other side. Not switching or switching sides too soon will not empty both breasts, decreasing the signal to your body to make more milk.
Baby is Too Hungry
Crying is one of the last signs or cues of hunger given by your baby. Your baby may have difficulty latching onto the breast if she is crying. Look for other hunger signs such as rooting and sticking the fist in the mouth.
Not Waking Your Baby to Feed
Babies need to be fed at least every 2-3 hours, or 10-12 times a day during the first few weeks. Infrequent feedings can be a sign to the body that milk production is not needed.
Milk Supply Checklist
It takes 10 or more good feedings a day to increase your milk supply. Your body responds to frequent feedings by producing more milk.
Your baby needs to be properly latched on to your breast to be able to fully empty your breast. Listen and watch for your baby to gulp and swallow the milk.
Help the Flow
As your baby feeds, gently massage your breast to help the milk flow. You can further empty your breast by pumping when the baby is completely done feeding.
Feed on Demand
Learn to recognize the cues that your baby is becoming hungry. If you wait too long to feed, your hungry baby may have a difficult time latching.
Empty Both Breasts
Give your baby enough time to empty one breast before switching sides.
Feed at Night
Emptying your breasts at night by feeding your baby or pumping will help increase your milk supply during the day.
Relax with Skin to Skin
Stress can lower your milk supply, so try relaxing by giving you and your baby skin-to-skin time. The warmth of your baby on your chest will also help your breasts release milk during let-down.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Take care of yourself by eating a well balanced diet.
Drink Enough Water
Drink adequate water each day to produce enough milk.
Your Baby is Getting Enough Breast Milk if He/She is:
- Nursing 10-12 times a day
- Has adequate messy and wet diapers each day
- Is gaining weight well
Other Problems that May Cause a Low Supply
- Certain medications
- Rapid weight loss
- Tongue-tie: baby has an attached frenulum so cannot get a proper latch
ILCA. Clinical Guidelines for the Establishment of Exclusive Breastfeeding. 3rd ed. 2014
Marasco L. Common Breastfeeding Myths. Available at http://www.llli.org/nb/lvaprmay98p21nb.html.
Ferber, SG, Makhoul, IR. The effect of skin-to-skin contact (kangaroo care) shortly after birth on the neurobehavioral responses of the term newborn: A randomized, controlled trial. Pediatrics, 2004:113;858-865.