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How do I know if I will make enough breastmilk?

Many mothers worry about making enough milk to feed their babies. Some women worry that their small breast size will make it harder to feed their babies enough milk. But, women of all sizes can make plenty of milk for their baby. The more often your baby breastfeeds, the more milk your breasts will make.

Your baby's weight should double in the first few months. Because babies' tummies are small, they need many feedings to grow and be healthy. You can tell if your baby is getting enough milk by the number of wet diapers he has in a day and if he is gaining weight.

If you think you have or will have a low milk supply, talk to a lactation consultant. Visit the finding support and information section for other types of health professionals who can help you.

What will happen with your milk, your baby, and you in the first few weeks

Time Milk Baby You (Mom)
Birth Your body makes colostrum (a rich, thick, yellowish milk) in small amounts. It gives your baby early protection against diseases. Your baby will probably be awake in the first hour after birth. This is a good time to breastfeed your baby. You will be tired and excited.
First 12 to 24 hours Your baby will drink about 1 teaspoon of colostrum at each feeding. You may not see the colostrum, but it has what your baby needs and in the right amount. It is normal for the baby to sleep heavily. Labor and delivery are hard work! Some babies like to nuzzle and may be too sleepy to latch at first. Feedings may be short and disorganized. Take advantage of your baby's strong instinct to suck and feed upon waking every couple of hours. You will be tired. Be sure to rest.
Next 3 to 5 days Your mature (white) milk takes the place of colostrum. It is normal for mature milk to have a yellow or golden tint at first. Your baby will feed a lot, at least 8 to 12 times or more in 24 hours. Very young breastfed babies do not eat on a schedule. It is okay if your baby eats every 2 to 3 hours for several hours, then sleeps for 3 to 4 hours. Feedings may take about 15 to 20 minutes on each breast. The baby's sucking rhythm will be slow and long. The baby might make gulping sounds. Your breasts may feel full and leak. (You can use disposable or cloth pads in your bra to help with leaking.)
First 4 to 6 weeks White breastmilk continues. Your baby will now likely be better at breastfeeding and have a larger stomach to hold more milk. Feedings may take less time and may be farther apart. Your body gets used to breastfeeding. Your breasts may become softer and the leaking may slow down.


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