Common Questions About Milk Supply
Worried about whether or not you will produce enough milk for your baby when they are born? You are not alone. This is one of the top most common fears mothers have surrounding breastfeeding. Latch, oral ties, scheduling feeds, etc… can all affect how much milk you produce. Often, things are going just fine but because you can’t physically see how much your baby is getting, it can cause worry. Knowing what to expect is vital for new moms in order to set them up for success and know how and where to get help. Here are a few common questions we hear surrounding milk production.
When will my milk come in?
Before your baby is even born, your body produces colostrum, which will be the first milk your baby receives. Their stomachs are tiny at birth so they take in very small amounts in the first days. Typically, milk production begins to increase and change 30-40 hours after the placenta is born. That said, as many as 25% of mothers take longer than 3 days.
There are some factors in labor that can affect when breast milk production increases. Such as having a c-section, medications, receiving a large amount of IV fluids, etc… A first time mom may even take an extra day for her milk to come in compared to mothers that have given birth before. Skin to skin directly after birth (and the days following) and bringing baby to breast often are important for a good start.
Does breast size affect how much milk I will produce?
No. I know mothers that are A cups that successfully breastfeed their babies into toddlerhood. Breast size is not a reflection on how much milk they can make. Storage capacity is not related to breast size (fatty tissue) but by how much glandular tissue a mother has.
One very uncommon issue that can affect production is mammary hypoplasia. This is a condition where the mother didn’t develop proper glandular tissue in adolescence and affects breastfeeding later on. Again, this is uncommon and it's important to get professional help to rule out any other causes of low supply first and they can help support you through it if you do have this condition.
Is pumping a good indicator of supply?
No pump can remove milk as effectively as directly breastfeeding. Pumping in order to figure out if you are producing enough for your baby just isn’t a good reflection of what your baby is getting.
What is a weighted feed?
A weighted feed is sometimes used as a tool to see how much milk a baby is actually getting during a feed. Baby is weighed before nursing, mom then nurses baby, and then baby is weighed again directly after. There are debates on whether or not this is a good indicator because the amount produced or taken in can change between feedings, but if done correctly with the right support, it can be useful.
How do I know my baby is getting enough milk?
La Leche League International has a great article on assessing if a baby is getting enough.
Wishing you success on your breastfeeding journey,