“Probably the most common reason a new mom will stop breastfeeding early on is because she’s afraid her newborn isn’t getting enough milk,” says Molly O’Neill, Registered Nurse and Certified Lactation Counselor with Women’s Health Specialists. “Unlike formula, we can’t see how many ounces they’re eating. On top of that, breast milk is so well digested by babies that they may be hungrier sooner; 10-12 feedings a day is the norm for a breastfed newborn.”
Ways to be able to tell if your newborn is getting an adequate amount of milk include:
- Noticing whether they’re satisfied or not. If they are, they’ll be relaxed and have unclenched fists. If they’re still hungry they’ll sometimes continue rooting or going after their hands.
- If they’re gaining weight. It can be a big relief to new moms to be able to tell if their newborn is gaining weight. Mother Wisdom Lactation Services hosts a “Free Weight Check Wednesdays” event most Wednesdays from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. and the Mom and Pop Place in Neenah also has a scale that is open for public use. Taking your little one in to be weighed could bring you peace of mind that they’re on track with weight gain and that you’re producing enough milk.
- One of the best indicators that your baby is getting enough milk is if they’re making enough wet and dirty diapers throughout the day. Once your milk comes in, your baby should make about 5-6 wet diapers and 3-4 stools in a 24 hour period. After 4-6 weeks, some babies will have a decline in dirty diapers, which is normal.
“It is actually very rare for a woman to not be able to produce enough milk,” says Molly, “Factors that can contribute to a mother’s breast milk supply decreasing include:
- A poor latch, resulting in your baby not getting enough and your body not getting the message to make enough
- Sucking difficulties, such as tongue tie
- Certain medications
- Previous breast surgeries
- Using certain hormonal forms of birth control
If you’re having difficulties early on, please remember that it’s a learning process for you and baby, and that there are support services in the area that can help you in your journey,” commented Molly. “I can be reached with questions at 920-749-4000; the La Leche League of Appleton and La Leche League of Neenah-Menasha are also great resources that meet regularly. Reaching out as soon as you’re experiencing difficulties is key to your success in breastfeeding.”
If you’ve ruled out other possibilities regarding your baby getting enough milk and do need to increase your milk supply, power pumping is a method that has been shown to increase milk supply for women.