Breastfeeding and Milk Supply

Why do some mothers seem to be overflowing with milk and others barely keep up with their babies? The answer to that questions remains a mystery. We do know, however, which practices enhance milk production and what may decrease milk supply.

Newborns need to eat frequently. All that early suckling before your milk “comes in” helps set the tone for later milk production. Think of as your baby placing an order to be filled at a later date. On the other hand, restricting breastfeeding in the first few days may lead to decreased milk production overall. 

You’ve probably heard that milk production is based on supply and demand. That means that the more milk that is removed from your breasts, the more milk you will produce. If more milk is consistently removed from your right breast, your right breast will consistently make more milk than your left. If baby regularly sleeps from 10pm to 4 am, but breastfeeds every 2 hours during the day, you will eventually have less milk in the middle of the night than during the day. 

How do your breasts know that your baby is growing and needs more milk? Very simply; the baby asks for it! Your baby will breastfeed more frequently when he needs more milk. After a few days of what may seem to be constant eating, your breasts catch up and all is well. When your baby gets older and doesn’t need to breastfeed as often, your milk supply will naturally decrease. 

So let your baby be your guide and your milk supply will take care of itself! 

See also: “How do I Increase my Milk Supply?“ 

Written by Renee Beebe, M.Ed., IBCLC. Renee is a lactation consultant in private practice in Seattle, Washington. She is available for home/hospital visits and phone consultations. Renee can be reached at www.second9months.com

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