QuestionsCategory: Breastfeedingis-my-baby-getting-enough-breast-milk
Alice asked 4 years ago

My baby is one month old and I am breast feeding but not sure she is getting enough milk. How do I know?

1 Answers
Riverside Cares Staff answered 4 years ago

Hi Alice,
Let’s start by mentioning that this issue is of great concern to many new mothers who breastfeed, unlike a bottle where you can clearly see how much feeding has occured, with breast feeding the reference points for the mother feels like it is dictated by how the baby is sucking and how long the process is taking.  The good news is that it is exceedingly rare for a mother not to produce enough milk (of course if there are other medical issues at play which may impact but lets talk here about the experience of many many mothers). The more you breastfeed, the more milk you naturally produce which is why demand feeding works so well. Feeding sends the signal to your body to up the milk production. It also explains why suddenly there is a terrific feeding spurt which can seem like it is constant and at other times it seems that the feeding pattern is easy to map and very steady (think hills and plateaus).  If your baby needs more milk as well as feeding, the very mechanism of sucking and taking milk increases your milk supply. 
There are other signs you can keep an eye on that indicate that a baby is breastfeeding well or that you need to be mindful that you might wish to seek advice:
Breast feeding should be comfortable and not painful. The baby should feed at about 6- 8 times per day, however remember every baby is different when breastfeeding is being established and you should not be surprised if at the beginning they feed even more often.
Follow a baby’s lead, are they relaxed when feeding? Does a baby quickly get into a rhythm of long sucks with occasional pauses and you can see your baby swallowing. Watch to see if your baby stops and come off the breast by themselves.
The most reliable way to know if a baby is really getting enough milk is by weighing your baby, which can be done at your local health clinic* babies should show a steady weight gain and appear to be thriving.
Look out for wet nappies, most babies will have 6 or more very wet nappies a day. The poo is also likely to be soft and usually will happen once or more every day. (Some babies may poo less often and this can be normal for them). Speak to your health care professional if you have concerns if your baby is not having enough wet nappies in a 24 hour period or their skin seems to be getting looser i.e they don’t seem to look to you like they are filling out/thriving.
Observe if your baby is very sleepy and does not wake for the 6-8 feeds approximately over a 24 hour period (each day is different so this is not hard and fast) but if you have a sense that your child is excessively tired and doesn’t wake up for feeds combined with less nappies than you would expect, I would advise you contact your health care professional for advice. 
Regards
Jill
Jill Wheatcroft is a Lecturer in Child Health and is co-founder and Director of Training at Riverside Cares. She can be contacted at info@riversidecares.co.ukhttp://www.riversidecares.co.uk
 
 
*(when I do my public events such as the baby first aid one on Nov 4) I always add in baby weighing at the end.