06 August

Is breastmilk enough for the baby?

New mothers always worry if they are producing enough milk for their babies. I receive many questions regarding breastfeeding and ways to increase the breast milk supply. This week happens to be the breastfeeding week. Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby. Breastmilk is the best food for your baby. There is no magic pill to increase your milk supply.

You produce milk for your babies needs and the more you feed your baby the more your body produces milk. 

The best way to establish a normal supply of milk is to start breastfeeding as early as possible. Early breastfeeding by the baby also establishes that bonding between the mother and the baby. Start soon and also try to offer the breast to the baby as many times as possible initially, so it learns to latch on to the nipple. Latching on properly is the key to happy nursing sessions as the baby nurse with comfort. 

Some women have low supply initially due to various reasons - 

- Delay in the initiation of breastfeeding

- Offering formula milk to the baby between breastfeeding. 

- Separation of the baby form the mother in the initial days due to medical reasons ( ill-health of the mother or baby)

- Anything that causes poor latch-on by the bay - like inverted nipples or flat nipple.

- Some women suffering from PCOD or Hypothyroidism or if they re on certain medications may have reduced supply of milk.

 

Sometimes, moms give up soon, without giving the baby time to learn to latch on and give formula feeding. Some moms are anxious if the baby is getting enough milk and try to complement the breastfeeding with formula feeding. This is not good as the baby will slowly tend to shift to formula feed as it is much easier for it to suck from a bottle than from the breast. And as the baby is feeding less from the breast your milk supply also begins to slow down.

You know that the baby is getting enough milk if 

  • they go through 6 to 8 wet nappies in a 24-hour period including at least a few dirty nappies
  • wake for feeds and feeds  at the breast
  • have 8 to 12 sessions of breastfeeds in a day (24 hours)
  • pass a soft yellow stool
  • Sleeps fairly well after most feeds
  • is back to birth weight in about 2 weeks
  • gain on average 150g or more every week for the first 3 months.

Milk supply is considered to be low if you are not producing enough milk to meet your baby’s normal growth and development needs. Usually, low milk supply is a temporary situation that will improve with appropriate breastfeeding support and management. You will begin to make more milk if your baby feeds more. Sometimes women make more milk during growth spurts of the baby when they feed vigorously. Making more milk is all about supply and demand - the more milk is removed from the breast, the more milk is made. The less milk removed, the less made. 

  • Make sure the baby is latching on well,
  • feed the baby at both the breasts during each feeding session. 
  • Be prepared to feed your baby more frequently - breastfeed on demand at least 8 times in 24 hours
  • Do not go longer than 5 hours without feeding.
  • Always drink water after each feed. Keep yourself hydrated.
  • Eat a well-balanced nutritious diet

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 22 August 2018 13:20
Dr Padma

Dr Padma is a Family care physician and is the Founder and CEO of MedHealthTV.

www.medhealthtv.com

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