The # 1 concern of breastfeeding mothers is making enough breastmilk.
Concern over low milk supply is the main reason mothers give up breastfeeding sooner than they had planned.
Sadly, many mothers who stop breastfeeding early really can make plenty of milk!
In my experience, what is believed to be an inability to make enough breastmilk is often the result of not understanding how breastfeeding works – which can quickly lead to a milk supply problem.
Breastfeeding early and often is the best way to ensure you make enough milk for your baby. Breastmilk production is supply and demand. The sooner and the more often your baby breastfeeds, the more milk your body will make.
Hold your baby skin to skin as much as you can in the first few days and weeks. Feed your newborn at the earliest signs of hunger. Allow your baby to eat as often and as long as s/he desires to help ensure good removal of the early milk, colostrum, from the breast. Frequent nursing helps to ensure abundant milk production, both now and later.
On about the third day, as your milk “comes in”, listen for more frequent swallowing and an increase in diapers with a transition to golden yellow stools by the 5th day of life. Keeping a feeding and diaper diary for about two weeks, until you baby is back above birth weight, can help you know that your baby is getting enough milk.
Newborns need to eat at least eight or more times in 24 hours, typically for 15 minutes or more. Always offer both breasts. Allow your baby to finish the 1st breast, burp, and then offer the 2nd. Dinner-and dessert! Baby decides how much milk you make by how often and how much s/he drinks.
Moms often ask me if pumping will increase their milk supply. Probably, but if your baby is nursing at least every 3 hours, you are hearing and seeing swallowing, your baby is having enough diapers, and is gaining weight, you are making plenty of milk.
If you have concerns, contact a Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). An IBCLC is a healthcare professional with specialized breastfeeding knowledge, who can help you confirm when breastfeeding is going well, identify problems and explore solutions.
Any baby that is not thriving needs to see their pediatrician.