Part 2: Answers to Common Breastfeeding Questions
4. How do I know if my milk supply is low?
Like my previous post, many mothers worry about how much milk their little one is getting. When it comes to knowing if you have a low milk supply and if the baby is getting enough milk, is to watch for their output. Check out the chart below…
Watching your newborn’s output is a great indicator of how much milk you are producing and how well your newborn is nursing, but there are other indicators as well. Here is a list of some other signs to watch for that can indicate a low milk supply or poor milk transfer (the amount of milk your infant can transfer from the breast):
- If baby loses more than 10% of their birth weight
- Baby is not gaining weight after more mature milk comes in (around day 5-7)
- Baby seems constantly fussy and is not satisfied after a feeding
- Baby is lethargic or too sleepy to get a good feed
5. If I think I do have a low milk supply, how can I increase it?
If you do think you have a low milk supply or your newborn is showing any of the signs listed above, it is best to seek help from an IBCLC as soon as possible. However, there are some basic things that you can do to help increase your supply in the meantime.
- Make sure that you are taking in enough calories and drinking to thirst. I know how it is to want to get back into shape after having a baby; however, strict dieting and calorie reduction are not the answer to breastfeeding. Check out the MyPlate plan below. You can add your age, sex, height, weight, activity level, and breastfeeding, and it will break down your ideal intake to have an adequate breast milk supply.
- Be sure that you are watching for feeding cues and nursing your infant at every cue. When your infant is going through a growth spurt, they will cluster feed as a way to increase your supply. If you have missed some feeding cues or think, “They can’t be hungry, they just ate 30 minutes ago”, you may have missed some feeding sessions, and your milk supply stayed the same or was reduced.
- After nursing your infant, try pumping for 15 minutes afterward or adding a couple of power pumping sessions into your daily routine. A power pumping session typically looks like this:
- Pump for 20 minutes
- Rest for 10 minutes
- Pump for 10 minutes
- Try increasing your lactogenic food intake. Lactogenic foods are known to aid in the increased production of milk. Try increasing foods such as oats, green leafy vegetables, brewers yeast, almonds, eggs, fennel, and several others.
Just remember that there is no “fix-all” to increasing your milk supply. The best option is to be mindful of the above suggestions, and if you truly feel like you have a low milk supply, you should consult an IBCLC.