I'm afraid I'm not producing enough milk. How can I tell?
We appreciate you reaching out to us with such a sensitive question. Wondering if your milk supply is sufficient can be frustrating.
If you observe a routine fussiness after every feeding or baby is having difficulty going 2 ½ to 3 hours on your milk, I want to encourage you to look at external stresses in your life (such as you may have too much running around to do and is simply too busy and is not relaxed or rested) and try to eliminate what you can. After checking external factors, I would encourage you to try one or both of the following tests:
- Consider feeding baby 5-7 days on a 2 ½-hour routine. If your milk production increases (as demonstrated by baby becoming more content and sleeping better) you can work your way back to the 3-hour routine. If no improvement comes, work back to the 3-hours with the aid of formula complement for the benefit of the baby and the mom’s own peace of mind.
- The four-day test involves offering a supplementary feeding of one-to-two ounces of formula after each nursing period. Then, express your milk, manually or with a breast pump (electric preferably), five minutes per side, keeping track of how much extra milk she is producing. If your milk is plentiful, the problem is with baby. He is either not latching on properly or he is lazy at the breast. If your milk supply increases as a result of pumping, which will be indicated either by milk expressed or by the baby not wanting the supplementary feeding, then you may return to breastfeeding only, maintaining a 3-hour routine. (see On Becoming Babywise book, “Monitoring Your Baby’s Growth”)
While this doesn't cover every issue you could be facing, we hope it sheds some light on your question. You may also want to read our articles on 3 easy ways to maintain your milk supply when breastfeeding on a schedule and how to build a frozen milk supply.
Please keep in touch and let us know how you and your little one are doing!