How do you know if you are producing enough breast milk?

Kimberly - posted on 10/07/2009 ( 3 moms have responded )




At my son's last appointment the doctor told me that he hadn't gained as much weight as they wanted him to. It made me feel like I wasn't producing enough milk but he eats just about every two hours and is 4 months old. How do you know if you are producing enough milk and are there any ways to get yourself to produce more?


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Christy - posted on 10/07/2009




I'm a nurse and a preemie mom. First, keep in mind they are comparing your son to a chart. Just because he is not living up to a chart that some doctor in the middle of nowhere wrote doesn't mean your son isn't healthy. Is he well or is he sick a lot? does he seem satisfied when you finish feeding him? Is he having adequate number of wet and poopy diapers each day? Is he having the normal growth spurts where he east a lot more for a few days than he normally does? Does he look pink and healthy to you? Is he active? How quickly is he catching up developmentally? These are the things you should use to judge if he is healthy and well. if he is not getting enough from your breast milk, you will know. Weight is only one of the factors that they should use to judge his progress. Believe me I understand. They scared the hell out of me with those growth charts and threatened feeding tubes and all sorts of stuff. My preemie is almost 4 yrs old now. Yes, she is small but she is almost never sick. she has more energy than I can ever keep up with. Developmentally she is far ahead of her full term peers. So I don't worry about her weight and let the doctors freak me out like they used to. Breast milk is absolutely the best thing for any child. The post from Charlotte is correct about feeding completely on one side and then switching sides so that your child can get the good hind milk. Also watch your diet. Make sure you are getting enough to eat and enough of the right things: foods high in omega fatty acids and protein and plenty of water. You can pump more and drink mother's milk tea or take fenugreek supplements to help increase your milk supply but i wouldn't do that unless you think your LO is not satisfied when you finish. Contact your local La Leche League (we called them the breast nazis when I worked in newborn nursery :) but they know their stuff when it comes to breast feeding and boosting your supply. Good luck. Keep up the good work.

Charlotte - posted on 10/07/2009




It's hard to know if you're not producing enough. The things I remember reading (I had twins so they didn't really apply to me) were to nurse for about 15 minutes before switching sides. You want to make sure your baby is getting the creamy hind-milk that has more fat and calories. If you switch sides too soon, he'll just get foremilk from both sides and it doesn't have all the nutrition he needs. It can also upset his tummy. You might try pumping in between nursing (yeah, in all your spare time! LOL), or pump the side you don't nurse him on, then switch sides the next time. Breastmilk is supply and demand -- the more you use, the more you will make. Try not to supplement with formula unless you're ready to stop nursing completely! I found within a month of supplementing one feeding, I couldn't keep up with the demand and stopped nursing altogether. If your doctor didn't say anything about this, I wouldn't worry too much. Keep it up, lady! Good job!

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