Okay, I’m not really psychic. But almost every single mom asks these two questions when we talk about breastfeeding…
- How do I know I am making enough milk?
- How do I know he’s getting enough to eat?
I always tell my patients the same thing. As soon as you find out your pregnant, your baby directs absolutely everything.
Being pregnant changes the way you feel, sometimes it changes the way you act, and you are more conscious of the things you eat and drink. Once the baby is born, the baby continues to be the boss. Most moms do not need to worry about whether or not their breasts leaked throughout their pregnancy, or if their breasts got bigger.
The easiest thing you can do to help yourself be successful is to put the baby skin-to-skin after delivery. And throughout your hospital stay, while the baby is awake, attempt to put the baby to your breast. Do not wait until he’s crying and irritable. You want to attempt to breastfeed while the baby is in a “quiet-alert” state.
You will know that your baby is “getting enough” because he will pee and poop. Remember that while you are in the hospital, you have colostrum. Your colostrum’s quantity might be low, but the quality is HIGH. Your baby only needs 1/4 tsp of this colostrum for the first few days of life.
All babies go through similar sleep/wake cycles. Babies are usually super alert right after birth, and then they act like they did all the work (and you did NOTHING) and all they want to do is sleep. This is totally normal, and one of the reasons it’s very important to attempt to breastfeed after delivery.
At some point, your baby might “cluster feed”. You might feed your baby for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, even 45 minutes…and then an hour later, he might act like he’s hungry again. This is when parents start to question themselves and everything they know. They will ask me, if I’m making enough, why is he already hungry? The answer…your baby is probably not hungry. But he is the boss, and he’s trying to tell your body how much milk he will need. Every time you put your baby to your breast, he’s telling your body how much milk to make, helping you to establish a supply that is perfect for him.
So the important thing to remember is not to give up, and know that everything you’re experiencing and thinking is normal. If you begin to doubt yourself, ask for help. Ask to speak to a lactation consultant. Phone a friend 🙂 You’re going to be exhausted and you might be frustrated, but know that if you just hang in there, everything will fall into place.
Categories: Breastfeeding Information