Lots of mums worry about whether the amount of breastmilk they are producing is enough to feed their baby. This is a common feeling amongst mums especially towards the evening when perhaps their breasts don’t feel very full.
The important thing to remember is the supply meets demand so by keeping breastfeeding you will promote increased supply. Even if your breasts feel empty, they won’t be - there will still be milk available.
One of the main ways you can tell if you are producing enough is the actual weight gain of your child, which will help determine if you have enough milk or not. Milk supply normally varies somewhat throughout the day and over weeks and months.
After your baby’s first week during which they might have lost some of their birth weight, you will certainly be producing enough milk if your baby gains around 120-140g per week.
It is possible for your milk supply to be limited for a number of days if, for example, you are overtired or your child is going through a growth spurt. More feeding or expressing, more frequent change of sides, enough rest, balanced nutrition and additional measures such as massage can stimulate milk production, and within 2 to 3 days, the milk supply will have adjusted to the baby’s demands.
After a few months your baby will have become much more efficient at feeding, so try and keep up the good work.
Many mums feel that they should be able to pump 115 – 250 ml (4 to 8 ounces) a session, but even 115ml is a rather large amount to express for a mum who is breastfeeding full-time. It is not unusual to need to pump 2-3 times to get enough milk for one baby.
It is absolutely normal that after some weeks, your breasts don‘t feel as full as they used to - this has nothing to do with the quantity of breastmilk produced.
However, if your baby does not gain enough weight and, during the first four weeks, does not have at least one bowel movement a day and does not wet nappies six times a day, do not hesitate to contact a breastfeeding specialist or a healthcare professional.
The NCT offer advice on breastfeeding and milk supply, contact them on 0300 330 0700 to talk to a qualified breastfeeding counsellor – open day from 8am - 10pm or check out their information online here.