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How to Make Sure Your Baby Gets Enough Breast Milk

Amy Long Carrera, MS, RD, CNSC, CWCMS
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist | Shield HealthCare
04/22/14  7:20 PM PST
Enough Breast Milk

Breast milk is the preferred food for your baby. Although it may seem tricky at first, you and your baby will eventually get the hang of breastfeeding. Early meetings with a certified lactation consultant will make the process easier and more enjoyable. There are also apps available that can help you get an idea of how many ounces your baby is drinking in a feeding, such as Mom Sense.

How do I increase my milk supply?

  • If you pump, do so more often. Try to pump 8 to 10 times within a 24-hour period.
  • Pump for 10 to 15 minutes or at least 1 to 2 minutes after milk flow has stopped.
  • Massage breasts before and during pumping or feeding. Use a circular motion similar to that used during a breast exam.
  • Apply a warm compress to your breast before pumping or nursing.
  • Switch breasts during feeding or pumping.
  • Think about your baby while you are pumping. Look at a picture or smell something that belongs to her.
  • Drink 10 to 12 cups of fluid daily.
    • Having a glass of water each time you pump or nurse your baby should help you meet your needs.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet with adequate calories
    • You need 500 extra calories while breastfeeding to produce an adequate amount of quality milk.
    • Choose lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, low-fat or nonfat dairy and whole grains.

How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?

  • She averages 8-12 feedings in a 24-hour period.
  • She nurses for 10-45 minutes at each feeding and seems content afterward.
  • You can hear her swallow frequently during feeding.
  • Your breasts feel softer of lighter after a feeding.
  • Your baby has a bowel movement every day.
  • The number of wet diapers has increased by day 5 of life.
  • Your baby gains 4-7 ounces each week after the fourth day of life.

Breastfeeding tips

  • Maintain frequent skin-to-skin contact with your baby to keep her calm.
  • Avoid bottles or pacifiers while your baby is learning to breastfeed in order to prevent nipple confusion.
  • Learn to recognize early hunger signals. Crying may signal late hunger and make latching on more difficult.
  • Experiment with different breastfeeding positions to make you and your baby more comfortable.
  • If your baby often falls asleep before what you consider a full feeding, undress them to keep them a little on the cold and alert side.

For more information on breastfeeding:

womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/

La Leche League International

This information is for educational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a physician or other health care professional. If you have questions about your health or your baby’s health, please contact your health care provider.

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