Breastfeeding is a supply-and-demand system. Your milk is made fresh each feeding in response to the suckling stimulus. The more your baby nurses, the more milk you’ll 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 then your baby will resume the old feeding schedule.
There’s usually no need to supplement your baby’s feedings with formula or water while breastfeeding.
If you’re worried that your baby isn’t 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 or she is getting milk.
- Count the number of wet and soiled diapers.
- Keep track of your baby’s weight gain. If your baby gains 1 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?
Use these suggestions for successful breastfeeding:
- Breastfeed your baby every one to three hours per 24-hour period (that is, 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 and 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 doesn’t gain weight, talk to your baby’s healthcare provider or lactation consultant.