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How to Tell If You Are Producing Enough Milk for Baby

By Kristi Patrice Carter

Isn’t breastfeeding wonderful? Most definitely! It allows you a unique bond with your baby that cannot replace any other experience you will have with your little one. On the other hand, there are times when you may not be sure if you are producing enough milk for your infant, and that can cause anxiety and worry. You want the best for your child, and that includes ensuring that they are growing and receiving the proper amounts of food and nutrients. Let’s discuss some ways to tell if you are not producing enough milk for your baby.

Bowel movements – One way to tell if your baby is getting enough breast milk is to check their stool. A newborn infant (1 month of age or younger) will have many mustard colored bowel movements each day; many babies after each and every feeding. Additionally, the baby should have six to eight wet diapers each day if they are getting enough breast milk.

Weight Gain – During the first three months, your child should gain an average of one ounce per day. Between the ages of three and six months, your baby should only gain one half ounce each day. Since 16 ounces equates to one pound, that roughly means 2 pounds a month in the first three months of life, and 1 pound a month from age three to six months.

Fussy Baby – In the first three months, you should be nursing eight to twelve times a day. If your baby is fussy, hungry and not getting enough to eat, even in this many nursing sessions, you may not be producing enough milk and your infant may not be getting enough to eat. However, a cautionary note: if your baby’s stools and weight gain are normal, the fussiness may be a sign of something else and you should see your pediatrician. Also, some babies just love to nurse – either they crave the closeness with mom or they have a strong sucking urge and it may have nothing to do with being hungry.

Newborn Weight Loss – Every newborn baby loses weight after birth. However, you should be aware of abnormal weight loss. For example, from birth to day 7, an infant will lose between 5% and 10% of their total body weight. By day 7, your child should begin gaining weight and be back to their birth weight by day 14. A little variance is often normal, but if your newborn has lost a significant amount of weight, you should see your doctor immediately and consult with your lactation consultant.

Breast Feel – After you have finished nursing your baby, your breasts should feel soft and empty. If they do not, it is a sign that your baby is not taking enough milk. This is significant because your body produces milk based on what is needed. If you allow this to continue, your body will produce less milk. In instances when your child is fussy, or is simply not hungry, it might be a good idea to express milk, to ensure the milk production levels are maintained.