A common concern in the early stage of motherhood is milk supply during breastfeeding. However, while many mothers worry they have a low supply, in many cases the problem isn’t true low supply but rather a breastfeeding management problem or a perceived low supply.
That being said, how can you truly know if the problem is low milk supply or a perceived problem of low milk supply? Here are a few signs below:
1. Your baby isn’t gaining enough weight
Babies typically lose weight in the very early days after birth before they begin to put it back on between days 4 and 6. Some weeks your baby may gain a small amount of weight and a larger amount other weeks. As a rough guide, health professionals recommend the following for weight gain in infants.
- Birth to 3 months: 150 to 200 grams a week
- 3 to 6 months: 100 to 150 grams a week
- 6 to 12 months: 70 to 90 grams a week
Be sure to get regular and routine check ups for you and your baby after birth, as this will help you determine if your baby is gaining as much weight as he should after birth. If he is not, your doctor will then help you confirm or rule out the possibility of low milk supply, after all, many factors can affect a baby’s weight at infancy.
2. Your baby does not poo enough
Baby’s first poo is thick, sticky and black (meconium). After 24-48 hours, it becomes brownish and gradually continues to lighten, and get sort of runnier. Around day 5, babies have the typical breastfed poo which is runny, occasionally green or orange in color with little milk particles in it. They will also poo at least 3 times a day, sometimes even more. At 6 weeks or so, some breastfed babies don’t poo as often. Some may only poo every few days or so. As long as the poo is runny and there’s a lot of it, there should be no need to worry. If your baby is pooing less often than as described above, your baby may not be getting enough breast milk and so it’s a good idea to check with your doctor.
3. Your baby does not pee enough
Babies who get enough breast milk will have at least 5 very wet diapers every 24 hours, or at least 6 wet ones every 24 hours. The urine should be pale in color. If your baby is peeing less than this or has dark, foul-smelling, urine, your baby may not be getting enough breast milk and so it’s a good idea to check with your doctor as soon as possible.