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Increase Milk Supply

 

Many women wonder about how much milk they make and worry that they do not make enough milk to satisfy their baby.  The reason for this is that we often have a misconception about how much a baby eats.  To help you put this in perspective, think about a baby’s stomach capacity.  When baby is fed more than his stomach can hold, he may get a tummy ache or spit up frequently.  To avoid this, feed your baby according to stomach capacity.

Age of Baby

Stomach Capacity Amount Per Feeding

Picture

At Birth (first 24 hours)

 

Baby feeds frequently - about every 1.5 - 2 hours.  He may feed in clusters by feeding and waking frequently. 

5-7 ml

 

This amount barely covers the bottom of a bottle.  Imagine what you would think if that is all you pumped out of your breasts just after having your baby!

 

IT IS ENOUGH!

 bottle1

3 days old

 

Baby will feed every 1.5-2 hours.  Some babies will feed every 3 hours or take one long stretch of sleep (3-4 hours in 24 hours)

22-27ml

 

This is just about 1 ounce per feeding.  It looks like very little milk.  Imagine what grandma would say if you handed her this and asked her to feed the baby.

 

IT IS ENOUGH!

 bottle2

10 days old

 

Baby is drinking well now and you will know how often your baby wants to eat. 

45-60ml

 

By ten days many women feed their babies much more milk than this.  It is about 2 ounces.  It will not fill the bottle. If you pump this amount out at each session from both breasts….

IT IS ENOUGH!

 bottle3

After 10 days old to about 6 months old

Calculate your baby’s feeding amount by multiplying your baby’s weight by 2.5 ounces.  This will give you the total amount of milk your baby needs in 24 hours.  You can divide that by the number of feedings per day.

Example:

8 lbs 2 ozs= round to 8.5lbs

8.5 X 2.5 = 21.25 ounces/24hrs

If you baby eats every 2 hours it is 12 times in 24 hours.

21.25/12 = 1.7 oz/per feeding

Increasing milk supply

It is important to remember that pumping milk out is not a good measurement of your milk supply.  It is also important to remember that at about the tenth day after the baby is born your breasts will feel soft.  They should not feel full of milk like they did on the fourth day after birth.  The only time they may feel full is if you miss a feeding.  Missing feedings will reduce your milk supply.

The best way to increase you supply is to breastfeed more.  The more you take out of the breast the more you will make. Baby should breastfeed within the first hour of birth whenever possible and continue breastfeeding frequently and exclusively in the first few weeks of life.  Even if you plan to do both breast and bottle, getting off to a good start will help you to meet your feeding goals.  If you do not have the opportunity to breastfeed your baby early and often you can express your milk with a breast pump every 2- 3 hours for 15-20 minutes each session.  A double pump is the best way to stimulate your supply when the baby is not available. 

Some women think if they eat certain foods or drink certain drinks they will make more milk. Many of these foods have not been formally studied but if it makes you feel better - it is OK.  Drinking plenty of water and eating to hunger is good for you.  If you want to take teas, herbs or other medication speak to a lactation consultant to make sure it is safe for you and your baby.

Women who have had breast surgery should consult with a lactation consultant to make sure they are making enough milk.  Many women make plenty of milk after surgery. 

 

Adapted with permission from the Foundation For a Breastfeeding Culture