Breastfeeding problems

Not enough milk

Many mums worry unnecessarily that they will not produce enough milk for the baby. The baby’s weight gain, the content of her nappies and her sucking behaviour are some of the signs showing that enough milk is being produced.

The weight gain per week should be

  • 0 to 2 months: about 170 to 330 grams
  • 2 to 4 months: about 110 to 220 grams

The baby regains her birthweight within 10 days after the birth.

In the first 4 to 6 weeks the baby produces at least three dirty nappies every 24 hours; later on breastfed babies can have pauses of several days. The baby should also have 5 to 6 wet nappies every 24 hours and her urine should be light-coloured.

During a breastfeed the baby takes the nipple and much of the areola in her mouth. When the milk starts to flow the sucking rhythm gets slower and the swallowing noises can clearly be heard. After a feed the baby’s mouth is moist and your breasts feel softer.

It is completely normal that your breasts stop feeling full between feeds as well after a few weeks. This has nothing to do with the amount of milk being produced as the milk is not made until the moment the baby actually sucks.

It can happen that you barely produce enough milk for a few days, perhaps because you’re very tired or the baby is having a growth spurt.

Increasing milk production

You can increase milk production by

  • breastfeeding often (every two hours with a longer pause at night)
  • changing sides frequently
  • having long periods of skin contact
  • getting enough rest
  • having help with household tasks
  • eating a balanced diet
  • receiving whatever support is usual in your culture.

You can also increase the amount of milk by occasionally expressing (for about 5 minutes) after a feed to stimulate milk production. It is not important how much breast milk is in the bottle afterwards.

If your baby does not gain enough weight you should contact a healthcare professional as soon as possible so that she can check the feeding situation.