Concerns about low milk supply are common but oftentimes it's a false alarm. Often women are concerned they don’t have enough milk if their:
- Breasts no longer feel full. False alarm! When your baby is between 6 weeks to 2 months old, your body has adjusted to how much milk he needs.
- Baby has fewer stools. False alarm! From six weeks old your baby will have fewer stools than before and can go days without one.
- Baby wants to nurse longer and more frequently. False alarm! Babies will experience several "growth spurts" in the first few months of life (often around 2-3 weeks, 6 weeks and 3 months), but if you let him breastfeed as often and as long as he wants this will help bring up milk supply quickly.
Milk supply is very often a simple case of demand and supply, so the more you breastfeed, the more milk you will produce. The most important indicators baby is getting enough milk are number of diapers and weight gain. If you are still concerned about your milk supply after considering this and ruling out the false alarms noted above, you should:
Call us or visit your local Beba-ks Center (Women's Health Resource Center) for free information and support.
- “Encourage your baby to breastfeed frequently and for as long as he will.
- Offer both breasts at each feeding. Allow baby to stay at the first breast as long as he is actively sucking and swallowing. Offer the second breast when baby slows down or stops. "Finish the first breast first," is a good general rule. This technique gives baby lots of the fatty "hindmilk."
- Baby should end the feeding. He may do this by falling asleep and detaching from the breast after about 10 to 30 minutes of active sucking and swallowing.
- Be sure baby is latched on and positioned correctly at the breast, that is, lips should be on the areola (the darker skin area), well behind the nipple. For a step-by-step guide on getting the best latch, click here. We can also help fine-tune positioning at your local Beba-ks Center.
- A sleepy baby may benefit from "switch nursing" that is, switching breasts two or three times during each feeding. Switch breasts when baby's sucking slows down and he swallows less often.
- All of baby's sucking should be at the breast. Limit or stop pacifier use while encouraging baby to nurse more effectively. If you are supplementing, even temporarily, you can give the supplement by spoon or cup.”
- Practice breast compressions; see how here.
“This may be a stressful time. Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own need for rest, relaxation, proper diet and enough fluids.”
Source: La Leche League International, http://www.llli.org/faq/increase.html