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How do I know my baby is getting enough breast milk? What can I do to increase my milk supply?

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Without pumping the breast, it’s hard to know the true volume your baby is getting from the breast and many mothers can be anxious their baby is not getting enough. There are a few easy ways to determine if your baby is getting enough.

Measure diaper count

During the first week of a baby’s life, you can normally expect your baby to have about 1 wet diaper on day 1, 2 wet diapers on day 2, 3 on day 3, and so on. After day 6, most newborn babies will have about 6-8 wet diapers. You can also monitor how often your baby poops. In their first three days, babies may have only 1-2 poop diapers, but after day 3, although it can vary between babies, on average they will have about 3 poop diapers per day.

Watch and listen for swallows during feedings

While your baby is latched well and feeding, take a moment to watch and listen for swallows. If you find it hard to see while you have your baby at the breast, ask your partner to check, too. Seeing and hearing your baby swallow are good indications that they are getting milk while at the breast.

Weight gain

When the nurse makes home visits or at clinic visits, the health care provider will always weigh your baby to chart their growth. A baby’s average weight gain is about 25 grams per day for the first few months. Your healthcare provider will keep track of this to make sure that your baby is growing normally.

Baby behavior

A baby's crying is normal but if your baby is crying excessively, not latching well, or not sleeping well after a feeding talk with your healthcare provider. They will determine what further investigation is needed and can connect you with a lactation consultant who can assess your baby’s latch, suck, to make sure they are getting all the milk they need.

Read more: Is My Baby Getting Enough Breastmilk?

It is also important for mothers to get the nutrients they need while breastfeeding! Breastfeeding utilizes an additional 500 kcal/day above your normal daily requirements. So it is necessary for a woman to eat an adequate amount and variety of nourishing and energy-providing foods while breastfeeding their baby.

Tip: Some foods - called galactagogues - have been reported to increase a woman's breast milk production. A few examples of these are oats, Brewer’s yeast, and fenugreek (herb) but every culture around the world has its own that they recommend. A lactation consultant can provide more information on these and other galactagogues.

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by Phuong Le