Where’s the milk?
“In the United States, concern about low milk supply is the most common reason given by new parents for supplementation and early weaning,” says Wendy Haldeman, R.N., M.N., an international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) and co-founder of The Pump Station in Santa Monica, Calif. “But in fact, almost all women are capable of producing adequate volumes of milk for their babies.” Some important things to keep in mind:
Trust in the colostrum.
Amazing but true: The seemingly insignificant amount of that thick, yellow, nutrient- and antibody-rich substance really is all your baby needs for his first few days of life. “You may not feel that baby is getting anything, but he is,” Caplan says. Breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed! “The best way to get a healthy milk supply is frequent emptying of the breasts,” says Caplan. Ideally, you should breastfeed your baby 8 to 12 times in a 24-hour period—rousing him if necessary. “Spend a few days in bed, completely relaxed, and feed your baby every two hours,” agrees new parent Leila Sayed, 29, a medical doctor and mom to 1-yearold Mia Nabavi. “After a couple of days like that, the production should increase.”
Caplan recommends using a breastfeeding log— noting the time, duration and side(s) on which you nursed, as well as what’s coming out the other end. After all, if baby’s getting enough nourishment, you’ll see it in the diapers. The first few days, he’ll have a few wet ones and pass meconium (a dark, thick stool) a few times a day—but at about five days he should have at least four wet diapers and three seedy, mustard-colored bowel movements every 24 hours. Your pediatrician will also monitor your baby’s weight closely, but contact him immediately if you see signs of dehydration (including dark, reddishorange crystals instead of urine).
Really milk it.
A hospital-grade breast pump can really boost your supply, Haldeman says. “Follow most breastfeeds with a 15-minute pumping session,” she advises. “Be patient; it may take a few days or longer to see results.” Another trick Haldeman recommends: “While breastfeeding on the second side, pump the breast the baby just finished.”