Having concerns about your milk production and whether or not the baby is getting enough are common especially in the early days.
The following recommendations can help to ensure a good milk supply and help you in your breastfeeding journey.
- Offer frequent feeds at the breast. Try to avoid supplementation with formula. The more often you stimulate the breast the more milk you will make.
- Remember that up until 6 months all your baby needs as a source of nutrition is breast milk. This is the current recommendation from The American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Feed your baby early and often. Be in tune with your baby. Watch for hunger cues such as sucking on hands, lip-smacking, tongue thrusting, and rooting. Offer your baby the breast when you notice these cues. Crying is a late sign of hunger and may result in a baby being fussy at the breast.
- Look and listen. This will help you know that baby is taking in milk from your breast. Watch for deep low jaw movement and listen for swallowing throughout the feed. You should be able to hear swallowing once your milk has come in.
- Try to avoid pacifiers and bottles for the first 4 weeks. By doing so baby will be at the breast more often and avoid nipple confusion or difficulty with latching/sucking. Sometimes early hunger cues can be missed if the baby constantly has a pacifier. If your baby is having issues latching seek help from a lactation consultant before offering bottles/pacifiers/nipple shields.
- Room in with your baby. Rest while your baby sleeps. You can also try using the side-lying position for nursing. This way you can rest and feed your baby concurrently. Frequent skin-on-skin contact will help keep baby alert for feeds and benefits your milk production.
- Latch and positioning helps to ensure a comfortable feed for you and good milk removal from the breast. The baby should have his mouth open wide like a yawn and lips flanged out. Position belly to belly with his chin touching your breast for a deep latch. Seek help sooner than later if you are having difficulty with either of these.
- Try to watch your baby and not the clock. Avoid strict timing and scheduling of feeds. Feed your baby when she’s hungry. Switch sides when you notice longer pauses between swallows or if the baby takes herself off the breast.
- Lastly, don’t wait to ask for help. The longer you wait the more difficult it may be to solve the problem.