Almost all women I have met who wanted to breastfeed shared the fear of not producing enough milk. This is thankfully more of a myth than reality, but there are circumstances where maintaining or actually producing enough breastmilk is harder on some than others. May it be a premature baby, a more difficult birth, a baby who is not latching correctly.
The fear of not producing enough
My first advice, as always, is to talk to your midwife, in person. Nothing can beat the personal contact about your situation and because there are 2 people involved in breastfeeding, somebody should have a look at both sides, yours and the baby’s.
If you do not have a midwife or you want to seek further advice, find yourself a breastfeeding consultant.They will hopefully have more tricks up their sleeve you have never heard or read about.
You are producing enough milk if:
- your baby has 5-8 wet nappies in 24 hours.If you are using disposable nappies, put some cotton pads or toilet paper in between the baby and the nappie to get a better idea of how much pee there is. With a newborn baby you will have less, but notice that day by day it will become more.
- you can hear the baby swallowing, making kind of a g..sound
- the baby feeds at least 10 minutes, with pauses. I know some babies do it faster, but go with the 10 minute rule for the start.
- the hands of the baby relax when they are feeding, as fuller the stomach gets, the more relaxed the hands get, I’d say.
- and of course the baby will gain weight and grow.
Following doesn’t mean you are not producing:
- Not having leaking breasts doesn’t mean you are not producing enough milk.
- Not having hard, hurting breast doesn’t mean you are not producing. The first initial milk shooting in and maybe your breasts feeling really rock hard is more your lymphatic system than milk. This usually subsides and after around 6 weeks your breast will feel rather soft again.
- Your baby not falling asleep after a feed doesn’t necessarily mean you are not producing, some babies just do not do that, at least not every time.
- Your baby feeding very long, over hours, like a marathon (you could call this Cluster feeding), is not a sign for too little milk, your baby is rather preparing itself for a longer stretch of sleep.
I hope reading this can make you feel a little bit calmer and more relaxed. Because we know how important this is for your milk production. A relaxed atmosphere, a comfy bed or chair and good food. I hope you have all of that and more.
Lots of love & Go leor de ghrá,