By Dr Vanshika Gupta Adukia
Breastfeeding is one of the most precious gifts that a mother can give her baby. While most mothers strive towards breastfeeding as a goal, new mums are often left confused about their milk supply being enough for their little ones.
1. Is my baby drinking enough milk?
2. Is my baby full?
3. Is my milk supply enough for the baby?
4. Is a longer feed required for the baby to feel full?
5. Do I need to consider giving a top feed?
These questions and several similar thoughts often cross a breastfeeding mother’s mind. Adding to these are varied mixed opinions and advice from near and dear ones. An overwhelmed, anxious first-time mother can feel at ease and assured by keeping in mind these simple rules and important breastfeeding facts.
1. A majority of women produce more than enough milk.
2. Breast-milk production works on the principle of demand and supply.
3. The more a baby is made to suckle at the breast, the more will the action of suckling provide a stimulus to the mother’s body to produce more milk.
4. Most babies that gain weight slowly, or lose weight, do so due to inadequate milk transfer from the mother and not due to her having a low milk supply.
Latching the baby correctly to the mother’s breast:
One of the prime reasons due to which the baby does not get the available milk is because the baby is poorly latched onto the breast. It is imperative that the mother is taught how to latch the baby onto her breast correctly.
1. No pain while breastfeeding.
2. Mother’s tummy must touch the baby’s tummy.
3. Baby’s lips must be flared, mouth wide open and the baby must take in a large portion of the lower areola (darker skin surrounding the nipple) in their mouth.
4. Aim the baby’s nose to the mother’s nipple and place the nipple under the baby’s nose.
5. Tuck the baby’s chin into the mother’s breast and ensure the baby’s nose is free to breathe comfortably.
How does one check if their baby is getting enough milk?
1. Newborns lose 7-10 per cent of their body weight within 48 hours, but regain that within 7-10 days.
2. By week 2, if the baby’s weight is gradually increasing, you can be assured that the baby is feeding well. (150-200gm a week)
1. At least one wet diaper for each day.
2. One of day one, two on day two and so forth until day 4 there are approximately six or more diapers.
Like pee counts, stool counts too are an indicator of the baby having optimum milk transfer.
On day one, the baby should have one poo filled nappy, two for day two, three for day three and day four onwards there would be an average of three to four nappies a day.
Keep in mind that after six weeks it is normal for a breastfed baby to go couple of days without passing stool as their body becomes more efficient to using milk.
Stool output colour:
1. Stool is more important in the first week of life.
2. On Day 1, the baby excretes black sticky tar like meconium.
3. By Day 3, stool is a little greenish and less sticky.
4. By Day 5, stool becomes soft, seedy, yellow.
5. These would be signs of a good milk transfer and the baby getting enough milk.
Points to remember:
Your baby’s feeding pattern will be just as individual as their personality. What’s normal for one baby is not normal for another baby. It is strictly dependant on bioindividuality.
Your milk supply is only considered to be low when you’re not producing enough breast milk to meet baby’s nutritional needs.
If you find that you are lacking in any of the above mentioned criteria, do not hesitate to get in touch with your healthcare provider to seek professional guidance.
(The writer is a pregnancy, childbirth, lactation specialist and pelvic floor physiotherapist.)
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines