Breastfeeding is a supply-and-demand system. Whatever your baby needs, your body will produce. Your milk is made fresh each feeding in response to the suckling stimulus. The more your baby nurses, the more milk you will produce. If your infant is going through a growth spurt and acts hungry, feed more often for a few days. Your supply will increase, and your baby will resume the old feeding schedule.
There usually is no need to supplement your baby’s feedings with formula or water while breastfeeding. If you are worried that your baby is not getting enough milk:
- Check your baby's position at the breast.
- Observe your baby's swallowing behavior. If your baby is swallowing along with sucking, then he/she is getting milk.
- Count the number of wet and soiled diapers.
- Keep track of your baby's weight gain. If your baby gains one ounce a day during the first months, then your baby is getting enough nourishment.
- Observe your baby's general temperament after feeding. Does your baby appear contented?
- Breastfeed your baby every 1 to 3 hours per 24 hour period (8 to 12 times in 24 hours).
- At first, try to do nothing but relax, sleep and breastfeed. Rest when your baby sleeps. Remember, babies are “night creatures” for the first three weeks. This is normal! You may have more opportunities for good nursing sessions at night. Try to sleep during the day when your baby sleeps.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Limit visitors and responsibilities. Have friends, relatives or hired help do the household chores, cooking, shopping, etc.
- If you continue to be concerned about your milk supply, or if your baby does not gain weight, talk to your baby’s healthcare provider or lactation consultant.