Breast Milk Production (page 2)
Making Plenty of Milk
Your breasts will easily make and supply milk directly in response to your baby’s needs. The more often and effectively a baby breastfeeds, the more milk will be made. Babies are trying to double their weight in a few short months, and their tummies are small, so they need many feedings to grow and to be healthy.
Most mothers can make plenty of milk for their baby. If you think you have a low milk supply, talk to a lactation consultant.
What will happen with you, your baby, and your milk in the first few weeks
|Time||Milk||The Baby||You (Mom)|
|Birth||Your body makes colostrum (a rich, thick, yellowish milk) in small amounts. It gives your baby a healthy dose of early protection against diseases.||Will probably be awake in the first hour after birth. This is a good time to breastfeed your baby.||You will be tired and excited.|
|First 12-24 hours||Your baby will drink about 1 teaspoon of colostrum at each feeding. You may or may not see the colostrum, but it has what the baby needs and in the right amount.||It is normal for the baby to sleep heavily. Labor and delivery are hard work! Some babies like to nuzzle and may be too sleepy to latch well at first. Feedings may be short and disorganized. As your baby wakes up, take advantage of your baby’s strong instinct to suck and feed every 1-2 hours. Many babies like to eat or lick, pause, savor, doze, then eat again.||You will be tired, too. Be sure to rest.|
|Next 3-5 days||Your white milk comes in. It is normal for it to have a yellow or golden tint first. Talk to a doctor and lactation consultant if your milk is not yet in.||Your baby will feed a lot (this helps your breasts make plenty of milk), at least 8-12 times or more in 24 hours. Very young breastfed babies don’t eat on a schedule. Because breast milk is more easily digested than formula, breastfed babies eat more often than formula-fed babies. It is okay if your baby eats every 2-3 hours for several hours, then sleeps for 3-4 hours. Feedings may take about 15-20 minutes on each side. The baby’s sucking rhythm will be slow and long. You might hear gulping.||Your breasts may feel full and leak. (You can use disposable or cloth pads in your bra to help with leaking.)|
|The first 4-6 weeks||White breast milk continues.||Your baby will likely be better at breastfeeding and have a larger stomach to hold more milk. Feedings may take less time and will be farther apart.||Your body gets used to breastfeeding so your breasts will be softer and the leaking may slow down.|
How to Know Your Baby is Getting Enough Milk
Many babies, but not all, lose a small amount of weight in the first days after birth. Your baby’s doctor will check his or her weight at your first visit after you leave the hospital. Make sure to visit your baby’s doctor within three to five days after birth and then again at two to three weeks of age for check-ups.
You can tell if your baby is getting plenty of milk if he or she is mostly content and gaining weight steadily after the first week of age. From birth to three months, typical weight gain is two-thirds to one ounce each day.
Other signs that your baby is getting plenty of milk:
- He or she is passing enough clear or pale yellow urine, and it’s not deep yellow or orange.
- He or she has enough bowel movements (see the chart below).
- He or she switches between short sleeping periods and wakeful, alert periods.
- He or she is satisfied and content after feedings.
- Your breasts feel softer after you feed your baby.
Talk to your baby’s doctor if you are worried that your baby is not eating enough.
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