Am I producing enough breast milk for my baby?
How much milk does my baby need?
Your newborn is very small, so it makes sense that your newborn’s stomach is also tiny. On Day 1, the stomach can hold about 5 to 7 millilitres of milk at each feeding. This is about the same amount of colostrum that your breast has already produced for your baby. A couple of days after your baby is born, your baby’s stomach can expand to hold between 22 and 27 millilitres. By Day 10, it can hold 60 to 81 millilitres.
Bear in mind these numbers as you feed your baby. Your baby will know when he or she has had enough, and you should stop when your baby does not want anymore. You should certainly not overfeed your baby!
In the first month, your newborn would be nursing 8 to 12 times each day. It might seem like you would not have enough breastmilk to feed your baby so many times in one day. However, these frequent feedings help to stimulate your milk production, and you should have enough to satisfy your newborn’s hunger. In the second month, your baby’s number of feedings will decrease slightly to between 7 and 9 times in a day.
The length of each feeding will vary with the age of your baby. Newborns can take up to 20 minutes on each breast as they are still learning how to suckle. As they grow older and better at breastfeeding, this could decrease to only 5 minutes on each breast.
Keeping track of feeding
There are signs that your baby is hungry, such as when they move their heads from side to side, they open their mouths or they stick out their tongues. If your baby is crying, he or she is probably already too hungry, so do watch out for the earlier signs that your baby is ready for the next feeding.
Just as there are signs that your baby is hungry, there are also signs that he or she has had enough. If your baby is sucking very slowly, or turning his or her head away from your breast, you should stop feeding at once.
You may like to keep a simple breastfeeding log, like the one here: http://www.normalfed.com/Starting/log.pdf. This will help you to keep track of how your baby is breastfeeding,. It will also help you to establish a routine for yourself and your baby, so you feel more in control of your baby’s breastfeeding schedule.
Is my baby gaining enough weight?
How much weight your baby gains is probably the best gauge of whether he or she is getting enough milk. Typically, a baby gains 24 grammes a day in the first three months, and 14 grammes a day from the end of the third month till he or she is half a year old.
Your baby will be weighed each time you go for a check-up at the doctor’s. If you would like to get more frequent assurance that your baby is gaining enough weight, you may like to have a baby scale at home. Remember to weigh your baby without any clothes on, or with a new dry diaper for a more accurate charting of your baby’s weight gain.
Another indication that your baby is gaining enough weight is to look at your baby’s stools. In the first month, there should be three to five stools a day. At first, the stools are very dark, but after the fifth day, it will lighten to a brown-yellow colour. After the first month, there should be one stool a day, or sometimes even one in a couple of days.