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Thread: Milk Supply Question

  1. #1

    Default Milk Supply Question

    Hello,

    I am curious about my supply as I feel like it's generally really confusing and I'm worried I won't have enough milk for my baby long term. My daughter is 4.5 weeks old and as of now (in the morning) I can pump about 2.5 oz on my left side and about 4.5 on my right side, give and take. Is this enough to feed my baby? Does this amount change as she gets older and needs more milk? I had more on my left side but I believe a still on going bout of mastitis has affected my supply. I have no idea what is considered a "good" supply. TIA!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,693

    Default Re: Milk Supply Question

    I have no idea what is considered a "good" supply. TIA!
    A good supply is indicated if a breastfeeding baby can gain normally without supplements. Despite rampant fears of inadequate milk production, the biological facts suggest that the vast majority of breastfeeding mothers make enough milk for their baby, and that means they have a "good" supply.

    1) A breastfeeding mom cannot tell anything reliable about overall milk production based on pump output only. Many moms pump very little yet are making plenty of milk for baby. What pumping can tell you is the bare minimum amount of milk that is in your breasts at the time you pump. The exception is if a mom has been only pumping (no nursing at all) for a few weeks, then what she pumps would indicate pretty accurately her current milk production, but still, quite possibly not her potential milk production.

    2) pumping 6-7 ounces at a single session is quite a bit- well above average. Of course many moms get larger amounts than other times when they pump early in the morning, depending on how long it has been since baby last nursed. But this amount would indicate either normal or above normal milk production. Making a bit more than enough is pretty typical at this age, which is one reason why very frequent milk removal at this age is so important. After about 6 weeks, many moms see a reduction in milk production if they were making more than enough before that. So it is possible your pump output will actually decrease. This would be normal in most cases.

    3) Assuming you make enough milk for your baby to gain normally at one month, there is no need for your milk production to increase after this age. A 6 month old needs no more milk than a 1 month old. This is because as baby gets bigger, their growth rate slows proportionately. People get confused about this because of the size of bottles which indicate a baby, especially an older baby, is needing to eat 4 to 8 ounces at once every time they eat. But this is a mistake made by bottle manufacturers, not the biological norm. While a 6 month old may take a larger individual meal than they would at one month, it would not be much over 4 ounces typically, and they are not needing any more milk overall.

    An excellent book that explains tons about breastfeeding in a mom-friendly format is The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. (8th edition)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,911

    Default Re: Milk Supply Question

    A lot of moms assume that milk supply is going to need to go up and up and up as the baby grows. After all, bigger babies must need more milk, right? That's why 6 month old babies drink more formula than 6 week old babies, right? That's why they make those huge "stage 3" bottles, right?

    Nope!

    Breastfed babies have different eating patterns than formula-fed ones. They don't keep increasing their intake as time goes on. Typically, they take in maximum milk at around 6 weeks, then hold steady till 6 months, and then start to decrease their intake as they near 12 months and their intake of solid food picks up.

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