Are you making enough Breastmilk for Your Baby?
It's natural for new mums to worry that they don't have enough milk to feed their baby. Not being able to physically see how much milk your producing, combined with sleep deprivation and surging hormones, means second-guessing ourselves is inevitable.
The truth is, most mums will produce enough milk to support their baby's needs. And if for some reason, a woman's milk supply is low, it's usually temporary. Low milk supply is generally a result of issues with the latch or other feeding problems on the baby's end. Correcting these issues is usually successful with the help of a lactation specialist.
Understanding Your Breast Milk Production
Our baby's milk needs will change over time; your supply will change to meet those needs. We start with colostrum, commonly referred to as 'liquid gold'. Colostrum is developed during pregnancy and is released over the first few days after you give birth. Colostrum is easier to digest and has a higher protein content, allowing for rapid growth in the first few days.
Around day three to five is when our "milk comes in". This is when we see the most significant changes in our breasts. Swelling, heaviness, fullness, and for some, engorgement is a sure sign that your milk has officially arrived. This milk is creamier and has a higher fat content than colostrum.
Over the next six to eight weeks, your milk supply becomes 'established'. Milk production is based on supply and demand. As milk is removed from your breasts, you signal them to make more. The more breast milk that is removed, the more you will make.
Signs Your Baby Is Getting Enough Milk
It's common for babies to feed anywhere between every 45 minutes to every couple of hours in the beginning. Unfortunately, this only reinforces the niggly suspicion that you're not making enough milk. So, instead of focusing on how often you're feeding, it's essential to focus on the secondary signals. These include:
1. Baby has six or more fully soaked, wet nappies in 24 hours
2. Baby's stool is pale yellow with a soft consistency
3. Baby is gaining weight steadily
4. Baby has some contented times between feeds (note some babies may still be fussy and cry a lot but still getting enough milk)
When your milk establishes at around the eight-twelve-week mark, many women find that their breasts soften a lot. The 'let down' sensation also becomes less intense, and these changes often cause women to worry that their milk supply is drying up.
If your goal is to breastfeed exclusively, it's important not to supplement with formula at this stage, as it will cause your milk supply to decrease. Instead, we recommend focusing on regularly emptying your breasts (feeding on demand), getting as much rest as you can, staying hydrated and healthy, together with introducing a breastfeeding supplement, like the In Shape Mummy Health Shake.
Shevi is a qualified nutritionist with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and food sciences. As a new mum herself, she is passionate about postnatal-related nutrition. Shevi has worked alongside some of the most famous leaders and celebrities in the fitness industry throughout Australia and the UK.
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