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How to Know if Baby is Getting enough Milk?

While most mothers are able to breastfeed successfully and produce enough milk for their babies, it can be difficult to know if they are getting enough. Since it isn’t possible to measure exactly how much they are ingesting at each feed while breastfeeding, there are certain signs to look out for to make sure their nutritional intake is sufficient.

How much milk is enough for a baby?

 

Like almost everything involving babies, the answer depends both on age and on your baby’s individual needs. If your baby takes in slightly more, or less milk than is average for his age, do not be alarmed.

For the first month or so, babies require around 75 – 85 ml of breast milk at a time, about 8 times a day (or night), totalling between 580-680 ml. Around the 6-month mark, your baby will most likely have anywhere from 650 to 850 ml of breast milk every 24 hours, in about 6 sessions. Remember that these are just rough guidelines – do not force your baby to drink more than they are comfortable with, especially if they are suffering from gas or indigestion, and other digestive issues. Similarly, do not limit their intake if they are drinking more – their bodies are simply taking in as much as they require. Their intake will fluctuate over time, especially once they start the process of weaning.

How to know if my baby is getting enough milk?

 

When it comes to calculating the amount of breast milk for baby, there is no exact way to measure how much they need, or how much they are taking in.  There are however a few key signs you can look out for to make sure that your baby is not being underfed. If your baby shows the following signs, you can rest assured they are getting enough milk:

 

  • Your baby is attaching and suckling well
  • Your baby is feeding at least 6 to 8 times every 24 hours
  • Your little one is active and alert when awake and is content after feeding
  • Frequent nappy changes

 

Keep in mind that even once you settle into a schedule, your baby’s breast milk intake will fluctuate from day to day, so don’t be alarmed if they consume less or more one day. Babies consume breast milk until they are full, no more and no less.

Weight is a good indicator


Babies tend to lose weight after birth, but breastfed babies usually regain their birth weight by about 2 weeks of age, and then should gain 100 to 250 grams a week. Weight gain may occur in bursts, so it’s best not to have your baby weighed too frequently. If your baby’s weight gain or loss is significantly below the normal range, it may be worth consulting a healthcare professional. Don’t be alarmed if it is higher, as babies grow at varying rates, and it can be extremely dangerous to take any actions to decrease weight gain.

 

If your baby has a low birth weight (under 2.5 Kg) or if you have had a difficult delivery, ask your Healthcare Professional to help you establish breastfeeding and check your baby’s weight in the early weeks.

How can I express more breast milk?

 

For one reason or another, many moms feel they want to increase their breast milk supply. When it comes time to express breast milk, there are a few different ways to increase the quantity and quality of breast milk. Try different methods to find what works for you, as everyone’s body is different.

 

Express breast milk more often

Use a breast pump or nurse at least 8 times a day. Breast milk is produced on a supply and demand basis, so the more milk is removed, the more will be created next time. Pumping both sides may help as well.

 

Pump after feeding

If your breasts do not feel ‘empty’ after feeding, try pumping right after. This will stimulate increased production as well.

 

Take care of yourself

Making sure you’re eating healthy, and well hydrated are critical. Your body’s health will translate into how much breast milk you produce.

 

Consult a professional

Lactation consultants can work with your individual needs to help boost your supply.

 

Check your diet

Certain foods can help in increasing breast milk production.

Foods that help in breast milk production?

 

Lactogenic foods and herbs, known as galactagogues, can help boost your milk supply. There are also herbal supplements and lactation teas available, but they often have undesirable side effects. Try out different lactogenic foods – they may not all work for you, but they may just help increase both quantity and quality every time you express breast milk. Here’s a list of some of the best ones to try:

 

Barley

Barley is rich in Beta-Glucan, a type of complex sugar that has been shown to boost prolactin (a key hormone that regulates breastfeeding) in both humans and animals, Barley can be used in soups, stews, salads and risotto, or even in homemade bread.

 

Barley Malt

Barley is often ‘malted’ which means it is turned into sweet, syrupy substance rich in lactogenic beta-glucan through the process of germination. It can be found in specialty stores, or online – but make sure it is 100% pure, without artificial sweeteners such as corn syrup.

 

Fennel and Fenugreek

Known as Methi in India, both the leaves of fennel and the seeds (known as fenugreek) contain phytoestrogens and have a long history of use as a lactogenic, in India, the Middle East and North America. Be careful though, it may have side effects such as tummy troubles, and if you have diabetes, heart disease or nut allergies, it may help to consult a doctor.

 

Oats and Whole Grains

Oats are some of the richest sources of dietary beta-glucan, and are both common and versatile. If you’re not a fan of oats however, whole grains and white rice are also rich in beta-glucan. Avoid white flour (maida) and white rice, as they don’t have the same benefits. Anywhere you would use maida or white rice can be replaced with whole wheat flour (atta) or brown rice for a boost in your breast milk production.

 

Please be aware that the information given in these articles is only intended as general advice and should in no way be taken as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you or your family or your child is suffering from symptoms or conditions which are severe or persistent or you need specific medical advice, please seek professional medical assistance. Philips AVENT cannot be held responsible for any damages that result from the use of the information provided on this website.