Breastfeeding Milk-production

Do I have enough milk? Or maybe too much? Does my baby drink enough? Are there methods to increase my milk production? Etc.
Almost all women who are breastfeeding sometimes have such questions and doubts. After all, breasts do not have tick marks like bottles. How do you know if you make enough milk for your child? Below an overview of the most common doubts and questions with answers:

What is meant by supply and demand?
If you feed on request, your breasts will start producing milk according to your child's request. The more often your child drinks with you, the more milk is produced. And vice-versa. Being economical on your milk therefore has a counterproductive effect. One of the most beautiful features of breastfeeding is that as a mother you can always produce enough milk for your child (ren). Even with multiple births!

Do I have a milk shortage?
My breasts are smaller and feel soft again. Do I have a milk shortage? No, on the contrary! Breasts that again feel supple and soft, which are less leaky and smaller, mainly indicate a supply and demand that are perfectly adjusted to each other. So you produce exactly the amount of milk your little one needs to grow well!

How do I know if my child drinks enough from the breast?
Good signs are ...
... you feed on request.
... you let your child determine the duration of the feed and do not disconnect him / her earlier.
... you hear your child clearly and see sucking and swallowing.
... your child refuses or lets go of the other breast after he has drunk from the first one.
... your child has 4 to 6 clear feeds in a 24-hour period
... your child regularly has mustard yellow stools.
... your child's urine is light in color and is odorless.
... your child is growing well.
... your child is alert and lively when you wake up.
... your child is satisfied and happy after feeding.
... you get thirsty during or just after feeding.

What does the ideal weight gain look like for my child?
The first four months a breastfed child can sometimes gain weight. The first two months often around 200 to 300 grams per week. In the next two months it will decrease to about 100 to 200 grams per week. After that you often see a flattening. From four to six months, the average weight gain is 100 to 150 grams per week. And after the six-month limit only 50 to 100 grams per week. Do not worry about this flattening. That is a perfectly normal growth pattern for a breastfed child!

My child drinks every two to three hours
How do I extend the time between two feeds? Don't ... If your child wants to drink every two to three hours, that's a perfectly normal drinking pattern. You usually eat or drink something every two to three hours too ;-)

Cluster feeding
It could be that your baby suddenly wants more milk as it grows, and your milk production is not yet adjusted to the rising demand. Your child is going through a growth spurt. With feeding on request you'll soon adapt. The more is demanded of your breasts, the more milk they will begin producing.

If that happens more often at one particular time of the day, and almost daily, your baby will probably have a period of cluster feeding. This is a perfectly normal drinking pattern for a breastfed child. Most children have this in the evening, but clustering can actually take place at any time of the day.

You'll soon get used to heavy feeding days: get a good book. Watch some TV. Browse through a magazine. Knitting, crocheting, telephoning ... Try to fill in the "lost time" with something you can quietly enjoy. Enjoy this period while it lasts, because clustering doesn't last long!

My child only drinks for five minutes per breast. Is that too little?
Normally a child knows how long and how often it should drink to get the necessary milk in a day. There are different types of drinkers! You have the connoisseurs, who take their time and can take forty five minutes for a feed. Then there are the gorgers, who wolf down all their milk in five minutes. And all variants in between of course. If you let your child determine the length of the feed (and don't disconnect early) and then offer your second breast, then you can be confident that it has received enough milk.

My child drinks half an hour per breast. Is that normal?
See the answer to the previous question.


How do I boost the milk production?

  • Hold your child properly.
  • Feed your child every two hours, and pump when you cannot do this.
  • Offering your child a breast before and after each sleep.
  • Offering the breast before each solid-food meal.
  • Switch things around: try four or six feedings instead of two or three.
  • Do not give your child a bottle, but satisfy every sucking need on the breast.
  • Bottle between live feeds.
  • Let your baby sleep in your vicinity so that you can respond to the first hunger signals.
  • Give night food (or flask overnight). If necessary, position your child half-asleep. If you keep your sleeping child in the normal feeding posture, then it often sucks on autopilot. And just drink a whole feed without waking up.
  • Cluster feeding: offer the breast every hour in succession, instead of every three or four hours.
  • Cluster waves: for a week, every day, pump every twenty minutes a few times in a row.
  • Pump after feeding. There's probably not much there anymore, but it does boost your milk production!
  • Take good care of yourself: sufficient food, drink and rest.Drinking breastfeeding tea that boosts production: aniseed, nettle, lemon balm, dill, chamomile, coriander, kummel, fennel, lady's coat, irony / verveine. Most babies find that taste good in breast milk. Which makes them drink more. And so the production goes up.
  • Other production enhancers: oatmeal, anise milk, celeriac, fennel, peanuts and cheese, cashew nuts, almond nuts, papayas and pineapple.
  • Avoid production-lowering nutrients: chervil, parsley, sage and mint.

ATTENTION: If your child does not grow well or does not have enough poop in one day, you should definitely ask a lactation consultant. She can give you additional tips to get your milk production back up again.

What may hinder milk production?

  • A dummy or little finger: Suction need is usually a hunger signal for young babies. Imagine a feed using a pacifier or your little finger, then your little one drinks less often. And your breasts are less stimulated. In addition, your little one drinks more greedily, if it eventually gets the breast. With choking, breathing air, vomiting and cramps as the result.
  • Nipple caps: With nipple caps, there is less skin-to-skin contact. That makes the let-down reflex difficult. Your nipples are less well stimulated. Making your breasts produce less milk. And that is not good for long-term milk production ... finally, you have a greater chance of blocked milk ducts and chest inflammation if you use nipple caps. 
  • Delaying a feed: The less you give your little one, the less milk will be produced. Moreover, with the postponement of a diet, you have more chances of choking, air swallowing, vomiting, and cramps. Because your little one is going to drink more greedily.
  • Shortening feeds or offering only one breast at a time: A baby knows instinctively how long to drink. It is not necessary to take your little one off the breast earlier. Moreover, it can be harmful for your milk production if you disconnect your little one earlier. Or only offer one breast per feed. We recommend two breasts per feeding session. And let your little one decide for himself if he wants more after the first breast or not.
  • Swaddling your child. By wrapping your child tightly, it can no longer move its arms. Waving with the arms and sucking on his hands are early signs of hunger. You therefore curtail your children's communication possibilities. Because of which he can not explain well that he is hungry. Moreover, children who have been swaddledare often very warm. Making them sleepier and less likely to want a feed. This means your child can get less food than he actually needs.
  • A silent hunger: Some newborn babies are so sleepy that they do not wake up (properly) for their feedings. Try to wake them up for their feed. Or feed them asleep. Not only for your milk production, but also for their growth, it is important that they drink enough.
  • The introduction of solid food: Solid food is at the expense of milk. The less you give your little one, the less milk will be produced. You should therefore wait as long as possible (6 months) before introducing other things than breast milk.
  • Bottle feeding or thickening of your bottled milk: If you go with artificial milk or thickener, then your little one will drink less on the breast. As a result, your milk production will return lessen.

How often should my child poop in a day?
Up to weeks four or six, a breastfed child should have stool every day. A few times at least one tablespoon in volume. After that, everything is normal between seven times in a day and once every seven days. Consult your midwife if you have any doubts.

Still not going well?
Consult a medical professional if...

... you do not hear your child and see sucking and swallowing during the feedings.
... your breast (s) feel as full after feeding as before.
... your child pees less than four full disposable diapers in a day.
... your children's urine is dark-colored. And / or has a sharp smell.
... your child has very little and also dark green or dark brown stools.
... your child does not grow sufficiently. Or even loses weight.
... your child is restless and / or dissatisfied after feeding.
... the feeding last longer than half an hour. And your little one is very restless at the breast.
... your child cries inconsolably for more than three hours a day.
... your child is very sleepy. And can not be awakened for his feeds.
... you have any worries about breastfeeding.

A child gets a lot more out of your breast by live feeding than any other bottle. Your bottle yield is therefore no indication for your milk production!

Also see these information articles: · Breastfeeding · Benefits · Bottling · Breastfeeding diapers · Changing food · Clustering · Duration · Empty days · Let down reflex · Menstruation · Milk channels and breast inflammation · Nipples · Physical consequences · Positioning · Quickly stopping · Reasons to stop · Tandem feeding · Thrush

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