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  1. #1
    lukesmom1 Guest

    Default How much breast milk should I be producing?

    Hello. I have a one week old baby girl and am wondering how much milk I should be producing. She has the normal amount of wet diapers and bowel movements as listed in my breastfeeding books. However, I do supplement her with formula at least once a day because I'm afraid that I'm not giving her enough. What is the normal amount of breast milk production at this stage postpartum?

    Last night I had stomach problems and today am only giving her formula because I'm afraid that I have a bug and that I'll transmit it to her. So, I've been pumping all day to maintain my supply. My mom and grandmother say, "Oh, you have so little milk." They are nice but I told them not to tell me that anymore because it makes me feel discouraged.

    Also, I've been taking the More Milk Plus tincture by motherloveherbals and am wondering if this has caused my gastric distress. Has anyone experienced this?

    Thanks for your input!


  2. #2
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    Default RE: How much breast milk should I be producing?

    Congrats on the birth of your DD!

    First- stop listening to anyone who tells you that you are not producing enough. Your milk is probably just coming in - it has most likely been colostrum this first week. I knew when my milk came in- my boobs jumped two cup sizes and YIKES did they hurt!
    I had to start pumping within 24 hours of DD birth because she went to the NICU. I was only able to pump 2 oz on a good session until at least one month. That is the only reason I have any idea how much I was producing. DD was producing enough wet and poopy dipes and would seem satisfied after nursing. She did regain her birth weight by 10 days of age.
    I would not be taking any herbals at this point. Let your babe nurse as often as she wants and no less than every three hours. Anyone who tells you that you are not making enough milk is making you second guess yourself and putting your breastfeeding relationship at risk. Your DD will get needed antibodies against any GI bug if you nurse. Formula does not provide these antibodies. There are few conditions that would cause a mom to temporarily stop nursing and this most likely is not one of them. For a ton of great advice check out:

    http://www.kellymom.com/

    If you need to, seek out a lactation consultant in your area. This is the MOST important time for you to establish BF. It is difficult at first but so worth the effort. It sounds like you are on the right track. Try not to worry and just enjoy your DD!


  3. #3
    SnuggleBuggles is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    Default RE: How much breast milk should I be producing?

    Just curious why you think you need to suppliment. If diapers are good and baby seems satisfied then it sounds just right to me. It would be the exception, not the norm, for a mom to not make enough milk for her baby.

    Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand. Your supply will keep up with your demand if you allow baby to nurse on the breast, nurse till they are done (not the same as X minutes per breast- this is not a good way to go since each baby needs a dif't amount of time to get to that hind milk), and feed on demand. The more baby is on there the more cues your body gets to produce milk.

    It is very possible that a bottle of formula can start to cause supply issues, especially if you aren't getting baby to the breast or pumping around the same time of that feeding. (Your body will think that it needs to make less milk since baby isn't stimulating the supply).

    Everyone's baby needs a different amount of breastmilk so it is really hard to give a magic number. One mom could pump and get 3 oz and one could get 1 oz with the same scenario (age of baby, pump used, time of day...). You will make the right amount for your baby.

    Also, your breasts are not like milk jugs that can get empty. Milk will keep getting produced as baby is on there. There isn't a finite amount in there.

    Breastfeeding- or at least giving breast milk- is very good if you are sick. The antibodies you are passing on will help protect her. Also, unless you aren't present in the home you are already exposing her to your germs. At least if you were bf'ing you would be giving her some protection, just in case. Pumping will never be as effective as the baby. JMO but I would get her back on ASAP.

    Some links that discuss how you know if baby is getting enough milk:
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/enough-milk.html
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/milkproduction.html

    I found nothing harder in my life than the early weeks of breastfeeding. But, I felt so awesome for getting through it knowing that ds was growing and thriving just because of me.

    You sound like you are doing a great job. Don't doubt yourself. If you and baby are healthy there is no reason to think that if you are nursing on demand that you can't provide all you need for your baby. Just go with the mantra that you are making the amount of milk that your baby needs and just watch diaper counts and baby (that link above will tell more). There is a lot of misinformation about bf'ing, especially in older generations. Try not to let others discourage you. Need support, you can find it here. :) Contact a *good* LC if you want more help.

    Feel better!

    Beth

  4. #4
    SnuggleBuggles is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    Default RE: How much breast milk should I be producing?

    Just wanted to reinforce how normal it is for baby to lose 7-10% of their birthweight. By week 2-3 they should be back up there. I didn't want you to go in for a checkup and have some less bf'ing friendly (or just not super well informed Dr., nurse, family member...) tell you that it is not normal. It can be really discouraging when you have been nursing non stop and they dip in weight. But know that bf'ing is right on track if you are meeting the diaper count and baby is doing well.

    Beth

  5. #5
    o_mom is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Default RE: How much breast milk should I be producing?

    If you have a stomach bug, the best thing you can do is to breastfeed. That will pass on your antibodies and prevent her from getting ill. Stomach illnesses are very, very rare in young breastfed babies.

    Generally, a newborn will take 1-2 oz per feeding and eat 8-12 times per day. What you can pump has very little to do with how much milk you are producing. Many women can never pump and ounce and still feed their babies just fine.

    I agree with the PPs that you need to stop the supplementing. You have enough milk and supplementing at one week is likely to put you on a downward spiral of making less milk because you are supplementing, leading to more supplementing, leading to less milk, and so on. Get to a Lactation Consultant ASAP or contact La Leche League so that you can stop the supplements and make sure that you don't run into supply issues later.


    Mama to three boys ('03, '05, '07)

  6. #6
    lukesmom1 Guest

    Default RE: How much breast milk should I be producing?

    Thanks for the encouragement, everyone :)

    I am pumping 1 oz from each breast, for a total of 2 oz from a pumping session. I don't have milk gushing out. It comes out slowly and steadily. I have a bit more milk coming out of my right breast.

    Sometimes soon after feeding, my baby sucks her fingers or smacks her lips for a while, and I think she's still hungry. That's why I panic and give her a supplement.

    Also, how does one get through breastfeeding through the night? My daughter seems to want to nurse more at night, be awake, and then lounge during the day. I know this branches out to the sleeping forum, but did any of you experience difficult bfing at night?

  7. #7
    nfowife is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Default RE: How much breast milk should I be producing?

    First of all, if your baby is having enough wet/dirty dipes, that is enough to tell you that she is getting enough. It is completely NORMAL for babies to want to nurse more at night, for a while. They have their days and nights mixed up- remember when she was inside and would be all active while you were sleeping? Well, now it's the same, but she's on the outside! It will take a while. What you can do to help that is keep it quiet and dark at night so she will eventually get the news that nighttime= sleep time. But that will take a bit yet.
    Some women never leak, squirt, or gush and they still make plenty of milk. So again, if your baby is gaining appropriately (after losing the norm, she should be gaining again and back to birthweight by about 2 weeks or so), and having the right # of dipes, I'd stop the supplement and just keep offering to feed. Many babies have an enormous need to suck for not only nutrition but comfort. And these early weeks are going to determine your supply so supplementing at this point can only hurt your supply that you are building up right now. The best thing you can do is just keep offering to nurse her whenever you think she might be hungry. She can't nurse too much and can't overeat at this age- she will stop eating when she has had enough and switch to comfort sucking to help her feel soothed and secure. You will learn to distinguish her hunger vs. need to suck cues in time, you've only known her for a week so it's still early in the game! There were plenty of times I'd nurse for 20-30 minutes EACH SIDE, DD would fall asleep, I'd put her down and within an hour she'd want to nurse again. Their tummies are so small at this age and can only hold a tiny amount yet they are growing so rapidly.
    The first weeks are hard and you will feel like you are constantly nursing, but once your supply evens out around 6-8 weeks and your DD wakes up a bit, it will even out and you won't feel so tied down. For now enjoy this special time!
    M, mommy to A 2005, E 2007, and L 2010

  8. #8
    o_mom is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Default RE: How much breast milk should I be producing?

    It is perfectly normal to feed them and then have them want to eat again almost immediately. Your breasts are constantly making milk, so put her back on. That is her way of telling your body to make more milk. It is so hard in the beginning, but it will get better. There were days that first month that DH would come home and I would just be sobbing for him to take the baby so I could get out of the chair I had been sitting in all day (at least it seemed like it to me :-) ).

    It is also normal for them to want to eat more at night and to have days and nights mixed up for a while. You can make sure that she doesn't go more than three hours between feeds during the day to try and get her on a more normal schedule. Also try and get her out in natural light during the day if you can so that her clock can begin to reset.

    One thing to do is to learn to breastfeed laying down (side-lying). That way you can doze while she eats. It won't replace all the sleep you miss, but will help.
    Mama to three boys ('03, '05, '07)

  9. #9
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    Default RE: How much breast milk should I be producing?

    You can't tell how much milk you have by pumping. The baby will always be more efficient at getting the milk out than a pump.

    Definitely continue to breastfeed while you are sick! Your milk will contain antibodies to protect baby against what you have.

    My suggestion is to stop the formula and stop pumping and just nurse the baby and see what happens. If baby is making enough wet and dirty diapers, then you have enough milk. (almost all women do make enough milk, so don't worry)

    The answer to the question "how much milk is baby getting?" is simply "enough". Breastfeeding works on supply and demand. The breasts make exactly as much milk as the baby needs, when you let them do their job. Supplementing with formula confuses things.
    ...Karen
    ds 1991
    dd 2003
    dd 2008 now home from Taiwan!

  10. #10
    COElizabeth Guest

    Default RE: How much breast milk should I be producing?

    I just want to echo the comment above that you can't tell how much milk you are making by how much you pump. Both my babies gained weight very, very rapidly the first several months, and I never had a supply problem, but I very often had times where I would pump and barely be able to get out an ounce. Since I didn't need to pump all that often, I just never got that good at it, but it was in no way a reflection on my supply.

    I also wanted to echo what someone else said about some babies needing to suck more than others. If your DD is still sucking her hands after eating, it doesn't necessarily mean she's still hungry. And if you give a baby a bottle "just to see," she will often taken another ounce or two, not because she needs it, but just because it comes out of a bottle nipple more easily than out of of a breast and because it's just there.

    I'd just let her nurse as often as she wants, and if you feel that she is sucking some times more for comfort and need a break, try a pacifier or just let her suck her hands. If she's really still hungry, she won't stay satisfied with a substitute and will let you know!

    Oh, and definitely still nurse when you are sick so she can get your antibodies. She's going to be exposed to your illnesses by being in the same house with you, anyway, and your milk will give her a real advantage in fighting off this and other bugs.

    Finally, congratulations on your baby girl!!!

    Elizabeth, Mom to James, 9-20-02
    and Charlotte, 11-04-04

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