Lactation Demand and Supply

Posted on: July 9, 2018 | Infant Care, lactation, parenting

How do you know if your baby is getting enough breastmilk? 

This is a common question we hear from parents all the time.

It’s impossible to measure the milk a baby is taking in straight from the breast.Because breastfeeding amounts seem mysterious, we see parents often worrying their baby isn’t getting enough. Many times, they will begin giving a baby supplemental formula just in case baby needs more. This can create an overfull baby with an upset tummy; or an overfull baby who doesn’t breastfeed frequently enough.

Breastfeeding works on a “demand and supply” basis:

The baby “demands” milk from the breast, and the lactating parent’s body then responds to the demand. If a baby is topped off on formula, the demand is often lessened, which then lessens the parent’s milk supply.

So the first thing we might explore: Is the baby actually not getting enough milk?

Does your baby have enough wet and soiled diapers? Is your baby content or sleep after eating? Does your baby spit up or vomit after being supplemented with formula? Is the pediatrician satisfied with the baby’s weight gain? These are indicators that perhaps your baby is actually getting enough breast milk.

If you’re not sure, it never hurts to reach out for extra support and information. As postpartum doulas, we love to help parents troubleshoot lactation and feeding challenges. We know what’s normal, and when it’s not normal, who to contact for specialized care.

Here’s a video we put together with Vegas Family Doulas, addressing “Is My Baby Getting Enough Milk?”