Question on Milk Supply when Breastfeeding...

Andrea - posted on 01/01/2010 ( 12 moms have responded )

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This is a question for you breast feeding moms... Do your breasts always seem "engorged" when they have milk? Like right around feeding time? Or are there also times when they have milk, but they don't necessarily feel as tight?

I ask because my breastfeeding has been my biggest challenge so far. My daughter is 6 weeks old, and I am only now getting what seems to be EVERYTHING right :) I had issues with shape in the beginning, am off the shield now, she is chomping like a pro and is a very strong eater. However, I find that I can tell when they are full of milk SOME of the time, but not all the time. It seems as though they are "full" every 3-4 hours, and yet my daughter is hungry every 2-3 hours.

I already know about how to increase supply - what I am looking for is to know if this "not-so-full feeling" is normal for those of you who have had no issues with supply. I have had issues with supply, and I am looking to see if I need to do more - like are they supposed to feel "full" more often.


Thanks, and I hope I'm not too confusing.

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Lael - posted on 01/04/2010

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Your milk is on a supply/demand basis. You will have milk whenever you need it and won't always feel engorged. Which is great because that can get old pretty quick...rest assured your baby is getting all the milk she needs when she needs it. :)

Hope that helps...

~Lael

Andrea - posted on 01/02/2010

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This is all great info. I know that if I supplement with too much formula, my milk supply will go down. I only do the formula inbetween feeding times, and I always put her on the breast FIRST, and then if she seems hungry still right after then I only give an ounce of formula (her normal meal is about 3 ounces), as a supplement, this only happens perhaps once a day if at all, otherwise, she is on the breast for every meal, and now doing most snacks in between as well. She has PLENTY of wet diapers, I do know that, and also still has plenty of dirty diapers - my ped also told me they could be less as she gets older - but I think because I supplement with formula here and there, she gets at least one a day.

This is great to know I don't have to look for the "full" feeling to know I have milk, thank you so much guys! She is gaining weight and doing well, I am just paranoid. In the beginning, she lost too much weight, and I have been working vigorously to make sure she gains substantially since then. Which she is. There was a point when my supply when WAY low because I was doing a lot of things wrong and didn't know it - but then I went to the Lactation department at my hospital and got some help, and now I'm back to normal, but reassurance is always helpful :)

[deleted account]

Quoting Michelle:



Quoting Amber :

Oh and if you're worried about whether she is getting enough, just monitor her wet (at least 5-6 a day) and dirty diapers. Also remember for breastfed babies, it is normal for them to go a couple of days without pooping.





I would have to disagree with this statement. Breast fed babies usually dont have a problem with constipation and as far as my experience esp when they are young they usually have a bowel movement with every feeding because what comes in must go out. But I would def monitor the wet diapers to ensure that she is getting enough. You mentioned earlier that you supplement with an ounce of formula....I have to say that I think you are defeating your efforts here. If she is hungry have her latch on......this way you will increase your milk supply because then your body will recognize your daughters demands. I made the supplementing mistake with my son and eventually my milk couldnt keep up so he was on formula only from 9.5 months on. I wish I had been able to go longer





Breastfed babies can absolutely go days without a bowel movement. My son went very often in the beginning but a month or 2 before we started solids (at 6 months) he was going a couple days in between poops. And most doctors will tell you that that is totally OK and also, most doctors won't do anything unless it's been 10-14 days without a poo. The reason a breastfed baby can go so long without a BM is not because they're constipated. The reason is because breastmilk is basically the perfect food. A baby's body can use up pretty much every bit of what's in breastmilk and therefore they will produce very little waste. And since breastmilk is a liquid, it's normal for the bulk of the waste to be liquid(pee).

[deleted account]

If your baby seems to be getting a good fill, don't worry about how your breasts feel. I could feel a difference when my son was smaller but now my boobs feel pretty much the same all the time. But when he eats he gulps and gulps like he's getting a lot. It surprises me still sometimes. I think, "wow, was there really that much in there?" :)

[deleted account]

Great info has been given already! I definitely agree about the formula. Breastfeeding is supply and demand so if she goes through a growth spurt and wants to eat more frequently, it's her way of telling your body to make more. So if you do formula instead, your body won't make more milk. I stopped feeling so "full" around that same time too. Good luck!!

Amber - posted on 01/01/2010

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I'm not saying that they aren't going because they are constipated. From what I understand, many breastfed babies go for a couple of days without pooping because their bodies are better able to absorb the breast milk and therefore they don't have as much waste output.

http://www.kellymom.com/newman/04enough_...
#2, paragraph 3:
"Some breastfed babies, after the first three to four weeks of life, may suddenly change their stool pattern from many each day, to one every three days or even less. Some babies have gone as long as 15 days or more without a bowel movement. As long as the baby is otherwise well, and the stool is the usual pasty or soft, yellow movement, this is not constipation and is of no concern. No treatment is necessary or desirable, because no treatment is necessary or desirable for something that is normal."

I myself have never experienced this break from poopy diaper (my son poops a lot haha:))

Just wanted to clarify:)

Oh and I definitely agree with Michelle about the supplementation of formula...it can be a slippery slope!

Michelle - posted on 01/01/2010

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Quoting Amber :

Oh and if you're worried about whether she is getting enough, just monitor her wet (at least 5-6 a day) and dirty diapers. Also remember for breastfed babies, it is normal for them to go a couple of days without pooping.


I would have to disagree with this statement. Breast fed babies usually dont have a problem with constipation and as far as my experience esp when they are young they usually have a bowel movement with every feeding because what comes in must go out. But I would def monitor the wet diapers to ensure that she is getting enough. You mentioned earlier that you supplement with an ounce of formula....I have to say that I think you are defeating your efforts here. If she is hungry have her latch on......this way you will increase your milk supply because then your body will recognize your daughters demands. I made the supplementing mistake with my son and eventually my milk couldnt keep up so he was on formula only from 9.5 months on. I wish I had been able to go longer.

Michelle - posted on 01/01/2010

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I breast fed my daughter till she was 16 months old and my son till he was 9 months old. The not-so-full feeling is totally normal and I wouldn't worry about it. So long as your daughter seems satisfied after nursing and doesn't want to eat right very soon after. You are doing great and your body will adjust to your daughter's feeding demands. So if you don't feel as full all the time, she is probably going through a mini growth spurt and eating more and your body is just adjusting its milk production.

Amber - posted on 01/01/2010

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Oh and if you're worried about whether she is getting enough, just monitor her wet (at least 5-6 a day) and dirty diapers. Also remember for breastfed babies, it is normal for them to go a couple of days without pooping.

Amber - posted on 01/01/2010

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From what I understand, as I am new to this as well (my son is 9 weeks), it is normal. Once your supply starts to regulate your body will make what your baby will eat (supply and demand) so you don't get engorged.

My breasts don't always feel engorged when it's time to feed my son, and there have been plenty of times when I don't feel full at all that he has pulled off and milk has gone shooting all over his face (its actually pretty funny).

Anyways, I hope this helps!

Andrea - posted on 01/01/2010

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Quoting Sarah:

I don't think they necessarily need to feel "full" as you say. As long as your daughter is getting enough when she eats you probably don't need to worry about how "full" your breasts feel. I nursed my daughter and often times I didn't feel really full or get engorged unless we had pushed her feeding time. I hope I've been helpful!


That is helpful, because at least I know it's fairly normal.  I worry because I don't know if she is getting enough or not - not to say she isn't gaining weight, but sometimes when I feed her and they don't feel "full" she seems hungry again sooner, and I end up giving her an ounce of formula to help keep her full for a little while.  I am feeding her at least every 3 hours, I just don't know how much is in them when I feed her :)

Sarah - posted on 01/01/2010

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I don't think they necessarily need to feel "full" as you say. As long as your daughter is getting enough when she eats you probably don't need to worry about how "full" your breasts feel. I nursed my daughter and often times I didn't feel really full or get engorged unless we had pushed her feeding time. I hope I've been helpful!

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