Signs and Symptoms of a Reduction in Breast Milk
The most common worry among breastfeeding moms is that their baby is not getting enough milk. When breastfeeding, there is no way to measure how much milk your baby is getting. You have to trust that your body is providing your little one with the right amount of milk and nutrients.
However, for some moms, a drop in supply is a reality.
It is difficult to know offhand whether your supply has dropped or not, and some moms do not notice at all. Knowing the signs to watch out for will help you be aware of when your supply drops. if it ever does, you can then decide on what to do from there.
Here are some signs that your supply might be dropping and your baby is not getting enough milk:
Few wet or dirty diapers
One of the best ways to tell if your baby is getting enough milk is through their diapers. Monitor the amount of wet or dirty diapers your baby has per day. From after a week old, your baby should have around five wet diapers per day, and these should get heavier as time goes on. Each baby follows a different schedule when it comes to dirty diapers, so it is better to monitor wet diapers instead.
Slow weight gain
Your baby should gain weight steadily in the first few weeks and months. If you find that their weight gain has slowed down or stopped, or worse if they are losing weight, it could be an indication that they are not receiving enough breast milk.
There are signs to watch out for if you think your baby is dehydrated. Your milk should provide all the hydration your baby needs, so if they are showing signs of dehydration it means that they are not getting enough breast milk. Dark colored urine, dry mouth or yellow skin (jaundice) are all indications that your baby could be dehydrated.
Maintaining or Boosting Your Breast Milk Supply
Once your breast milk supply is established, milk is produced on a supply and demand basis. The more your baby feeds, the more milk your breasts will produce. This is the reason why supplementing your breastmilk with formula in bottles can actually reduce your supply drastically. When your baby feeds with supplements, they are missing a feed on your breasts. This sends your breasts the message to decrease supply as the demand has lessened. At the same time, it depends on how your baby feeds. If she doesn’t take enough milk during a feed, it is a good idea to pump in order to maintain supply.
Knowing and understanding the signs of a decreased supply will give you some peace of mind when breastfeeding. You will be able to reassure yourself that your baby is getting enough breast milk if they are growing well, sleeping well and keeping you busy with frequent nappy changes. Who would have thought you would be excited about changing so many diapers!