How Do I Know If I Have a Low Milk Supply?
It’s easy to tell if a bottle-fed baby is getting her fair share: Just count the ounces she eats. With breastfeeders, however, it’s trickier, and you'll want to determine if you have a low milk supply.
Do you have enough breastmilk? Your breasts should feel heavy when you wake up. They may occasionally leak and you should be able to hear your baby gulping at least at the beginning of the feedings.
Is your baby serene after a meal? Well-fed babies get blissful and relaxed after a nursing.
Does your baby pee enough? During the first days, infants don’t urinate very often. But once the milk comes in, they pee 5-8 times a day, and the urine is clear or light yellow. If you’re just seeing a few wet diapers a day and the color of the pee is dark yellow, consider it a red alert and call your pediatrician to check for a problem.
- Is your baby gaining enough weight? Moms—and grandmas—often worry that their child is too skinny. Babies usually lose 8-12 ounces over the first few days of life, but thereafter gain 4-7 ounces per week. But there’s no need to guess if your infant is gaining enough weight, simply put her on a scale…at the doctor’s office. (Most home scales are so inaccurate they’ll drive you crazy!)
If you answered “No” to any of these questions, call your baby’s doctor to find out if your child’s cries are a sign of insufficient milk.
Note: One last clue in checking your supply is after you are done with a feed, offer a bottle of pumped milk or formula to see if your baby gulps it down. But be careful when giving bottles before breastfeeding is well established. It can alter a child’s sucking and make her suddenly reject the breast. In fact, to avoid nipple confusion it’s best to give no more than one bottle a day, even after the nursing is well established.
But of course, you'll want to discuss these signs and any concerns you have about milk supply with your doctor or an experienced lactation consultant.