Yes, just by nursing often and getting a good latch. If you are worried there are ways to increase your milk supply.
Milk production is almost always a simple matter of supply and demand – the more your baby demands i.e. the more you breastfeed, the more milk you will produce. It is normal to worry as you can’t actually see how much milk your baby is taking. Here are some simple ways to be sure baby is getting enough:
- Diaper output – your easiest clue, 4-6 wet diapers and 3-6 soiled diapers per day during weeks 1-6. Urine should be clear-to-pale yellow in color.
- Weight gain – baby regains birth weight within two weeks, but keep in mind baby will lose 5-10% of their birth weight in their first 3-4 days of life.
- Relaxed baby – baby seems relaxed and happy after a feed.
- Softer breasts after a feed
- Swallowing – look or listen for swallowing during a feeding.
Milk removal is especially important in the first 2-3 weeks because that is when your milk production capacity is established. The more milk you remove in this time, the more you will have for your baby over the longer term. But don’t worry if you have trouble in those first few weeks, there are ways to improve your supply later on.
Once you start producing milk, it is always being made faster when the breast is less full, and slower when the breast is more full. This is why your milk production will slow if you wait until your breasts “fill up” to feed your baby, so don’t wait! It is also why your breasts are never truly empty, you can always get more out!
Ways to increase your milk supply
- Call us or visit your local Beba-ks Center (Women's Health Resource Center) for free information and support.
- “Encourage your baby to breastfeed frequently and for as long as he will.
- Offer both breasts at each feeding. Allow baby to stay at the first breast as long as he is actively sucking and swallowing. Offer the second breast when baby slows down or stops. "Finish the first breast first," is a good general rule. This technique gives baby lots of the fatty "hindmilk."
- Baby should end the feeding. He may do this by falling asleep and detaching from the breast after about 10 to 30 minutes of active sucking and swallowing.
- Be sure baby is latched on and positioned correctly at the breast, that is, lips should be on the areola (the darker skin area), well behind the nipple. We can help fine-tune positioning as well as suggest ideas to ease soreness.
- A sleepy baby may benefit from "switch nursing" that is, switching breasts two or three times during each feeding. Switch breasts when baby's sucking slows down and he swallows less often.
- All of baby's sucking should be at the breast. Limit or stop pacifier use while encouraging baby to nurse more effectively. If you are supplementing, even temporarily, you can give the supplement by spoon or cup.”
- Practice breast compressions; see how here.
“This may be a stressful time. Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own need for rest, relaxation, proper diet and enough fluids.”
Source: La Leche League International, http://www.llli.org/faq/increase.html