Questions parents have: How do I know that I am producing enough milk?
Over the next few posts I will try and answers some common questions most parents, who come to the Breastfeeding Clinic, have ;-).
How do I know that I am producing enough milk?
The short answer: baby is gaining weight! (and have lots and lots of watery, maybe seedy or curdy yellow runny nappies per day during the first few weeks).
If a baby is thriving on exclusive breastfeeding for her/his first six weeks, that mother is set till six months. She is already producing as much milk as her baby would ever need. The amount of milk breastfed babies consume daily between 1 and 6 months of age stays remarkably stable, on average between 750 - 1050 ml / 24 hours.(1) This means that when breastfeeding is going well, after about 1 month, milk production doesn’t need to increase by much. After reaching this level, a mother can focus primarily on maintenance until 6 months, when her baby’s milk intake will decrease with the introduction of solid foods.(2)
This is the reason we stress at The Breastfeeding Clinic (3) that mothers aim for a MINUMIM of 8 breastfeeds in a 24 hours period for at least the first month – to build her milk supply and get baby’s breastfeeding established. At about a month, when baby is drinking about her / his top supply, s/he will be using about half of what s/he consumes and pooh out about the other half as unused, digested milk. Parents will notice from here onwards, baby pooh-ing less often but more per nappy as more and more of the almost liter of milk is used during 24 hours.
1. Butte, N.F., Lopez-Alarcon, & Garza, C. (2002). Nutrient adequacy of exclusive breastfeeding for the term infant during the first six months of life. Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization. http:// whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/9241562110.pdf
2. Islam, M.M, Peerson, J.M., Ahmed, T., Dewey, K.G., & Brown, K.H. (2006). Effects of varied energy density of complementary goods on breast-milk intakes and total energy consumption by healthy, breastfed Bangladeshi children. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 83(4), 851-858.