Many mothers worry they're not producing enough milk, particularly after the first few weeks when their breasts feel soft, and their baby seems to be feeding constantly!
The truth is, if your baby's feeding well, gaining weight, and has lots of wet and poopy diapers, you likely have plenty of milk.
The principle of supply and demand is essential to breastfeeding - the more your baby feeds, the more milk you produce.
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To keep supply and demand working during breastfeeding:
- Avoid unnecessary supplements such as formula. If babies fill up with other foods, they don't 'demand' enough of your milk and your body will respond by producing less. In addition to affecting supply and demand, supplementing with formula can:
- make your breasts hard and uncomfortable. This is called engorgement.
- formula also changes a baby's gut (the lining of the intestines) so that harmful bacteria can grow. Human milk helps healthy bacteria grow in the intestines.
Watch a video on how to hand express breast milk.
- If your baby isn't feeding well, especially in the early days, it might help to hand express your milk for a few minutes after feedings. A little bit of hand expression - even if you do not actually express any milk - acts like an insurance policy for the supply part of the equation because stimulating the breasts spurs milk production.
VIDEO: Admission to Postpartum - Keeping Your Baby Skin-to-Skin
VIDEO: Baby's Feeding Cues and Behaviours
VIDEO: Breastfeeding Positions
VIDEO: Cup Feeding and Other Feeding Methods
VIDEO: Hand Expressing Milk
VIDEO: Latching Your Baby