Pregnancy Articles

Breastfeeding: Evaluating Your Milk Supply

Increasing Supply to Meet Demand

In the first days of breastfeeding, new moms are always concerned about whether their baby is getting enough to eat. Although answering that question would be so much easier if your baby could tell you whether she is hungry or full, new parents can monitor a few signs and cues to see if their breastfed baby is thriving.

Here are some signs you can monitor to help evaluate whether your baby is getting enough milk:
  • Weight gain. It is normal for babies to lose about 5-7 % of their birth weight in the first days after delivery. Their bodies require a great deal of energy in those first days, as they learn to maintain their body temperature as well as their digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems. Babies should regain up to their birth weight by two weeks postpartum. Once mom's milk comes in and the breastfeeding relationship is established, your baby should gain (on average) about 6 ounces per week.

  • Diapers. After the first week, babies who are eating enough to meet their needs will produce 5-6 (or more) soppy-wet diapers daily. The term "soppy wet" was coined when cloth diapers were the norm, and refers to the appearance of a cloth diaper that contains 3 or more tablespoons of liquid.

    But since the majority of babies use disposable diapers, which are more absorbent, it can be hard to tell how a soppy wet diaper should appear. You can pour water (3+ tablespoons) in your brand of diapers to get an idea of how it should look and feel.

    Babies should have 3-4 (or more) dirty diapers after one week. The normal stool of a breastfed baby usually has a mustard yellow color, a soft, loose, watery texture, and many times a "seedy" or "curdy" appearance.

  • Other signs. Usually after a baby has nursed well, mom's breasts will be softer after the feeding. A baby who has met his needs is often times described as "milk drunk" or "floppy full" and very content.
Many times a new mom will think her milk supply is low, when in fact it is meeting the needs of her baby. If your baby is gaining weight at a rate of at least 6 ounces per week on breast milk, you are making enough milk for your baby to grow and thrive. Weight gain is the only measure of milk adequacy.
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About The Author

Tanya Jolliffe
Tanya earned a bachelor's degree in dietetics and nutrition and has more than 15 years of nutrition counseling experience. She has worked with clients in such areas as prenatal nutrition, general family nutrition and therapeutic nutrition in end-stage organ disease.

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thanks for sharing Report