The milk supply increases from about 100 ml on the second day to about 500 ml in the second week and more slowly thereafter. Some mothers get very panicky as to whether the baby is getting enough breast milk. I have known mothers who weighed the baby after every feed or at least every day. Such anxiety may interfere with sufficient breast milk.A baby who is not fretful and sleeps happily in between feeds and does not demand feeds earlier than every two or three hours, is getting enough from the breast.
The fullness of the breasts and the feel of the milk flowing through the breast when he sucks, also suggests that breast milk is enough. Most mothers can produce enough milk for the baby for about four to six months, and some for much longer. You will see and feel your baby growing, and of course you can weigh him more frequently (one to two weeks) to begin with to reassure yourself.
Later, weighing the baby once a month is enough. If the baby cries and demands feeds more frequently or does not sleep properly, then in all probability, your milk is not enough. His stool will become hard and he will not gain sufficient weight. Try feeding him more frequently- this will help to increase the supply of breast milk. Make sure the position of the baby is correct and he has easy access to the breast.
But if this does not work, and the baby is obviously hungry, he will need some extra food. From four to five months onwards, semi-solid food can be started, but in a younger baby, some milk will have to be given. Effort should be made to not use a bottle as far as possible, but to feed the baby with a cup or a spoon.
Oral pills that may be used for family planning might interfere with milk secretion. It is better to consult your doctor on the best contraceptive method at this stage.
How much milk does a baby need? Every baby is different and the amount of milk varies considerably, but the following is a good guide.
When the baby finishes the milk offered and seems to look around as if asking for more, he is ready for more and 15 to 30 ml (1/2 to 1 oz) more may be offered. The maximum the baby needs at one feed is 8 oz or 225 ml.
To keep your free from worries we bring you a guide to the number of feeds your child might need.
Age number of feeds in 24 hours
From birth till 1 month — 6 – 8
- 1 – 3 months — 5 – 6
- 3 – 6 months — 4 – 5
- 6 – 12 months — 3 – 4
Age Average quantity per feed
- 1 – 2 weeks — 50 – 75 ml
- 2 weeks – 2 months 100 – 125 ml
- 2 – 3 months 125 – 150 ml
- 3 – 4 months 150 – 175 ml
- 5 – 12 months 175 – 225 ml