How Do I Know My Milk Is Enough?
Updated: Feb 25
Many mothers wonder about whether their milk covers the nutritional needs of the baby. Quite frequently, mothers are concerned about if their breast milk can “satisfy the baby" or is "enough". Because of this, a mother may resort to the introduction of formula. Either because she believes that her baby does not have enough milk, or out of external pressure from family members who question her ability to produce satisfactory milk.
In today’s article, we will discuss the most important points you need to know about breast milk, its composition, if it’s enough to cover the needs of your child, and more.
Breast milk composition
Breast milk consists of all the nutrients that a baby needs starting from birth. Breast milk contains fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals in addition to water, covering a baby’s daily requirements. Mother's milk is characterized by the unique composition of these elements, easy digestion, and ability to perform vital functions for the baby’s body.
For example, proteins in the mother's milk assist in the formation of tissues and muscle building, and other vital functions. It is one of the primary components that support the child's immune system and contribute to its development. Vitamins and minerals found in breast milk are also characterized by their high absorption and bioavailability compared to the formula found in other milk such as cow's milk. Iron is also present in breast milk in small quantities, but with a high bioavailability compared to the body's ability to absorb the iron found in other milk types.
Am I able to produce enough milk to cover my baby's needs?
All mothers are capable of producing enough milk. Human milk production is a process of supply and demand wherein milk production increases with increased withdrawal. Essentially, each time the baby is breastfed and empties the breast, a hormone called prolactin is secreted, which stimulates special cells in the breast to produce milk. The first days after birth are important for the establishment of breastfeeding where the body produces milk based on the amount that the child takes. The more the baby is breastfed, the more milk is produced to cover the baby’s needs.
A mother’s psychosocial state and lack of confidence in her ability to produce milk can affect breastfeeding. This could lead to the introduction of formula for the baby. When a mother gives her child formula out of the belief that her milk is not enough, the production of human milk decreases, leading to insufficient milk supply for the baby. It is recommended to begin breastfeeding within the first two hours after birth to help establish breastfeeding and sufficient milk supply for the baby.
Every mother can produce enough milk that satisfies and is sufficient for her baby - except for certain medical conditions. If a mother is unable to produce enough milk, she should counsel breastfeeding specialists to help diagnose and solve the problem.
How do I know my milk is enough?
There are two main signs that the mother can use to assure that her milk is sufficient:
The baby produces at least six wet diapers a day.
A clear monthly increase in baby weight - usually between 600 to 800 grams per month for the first three months.
Is my milk enough after my baby is six months old?
Yes, dear mother, your milk is still beneficial and important for your baby, even at and after six months old. As the child reaches their sixth month, their nutritional requirements increase which requires the introduction of complementary foods along with continued breastfeeding, additional sources of iron, vitamin A and other nutrients found in complementary foods are necessary, in addition to the quantities of nutrients found in breast milk.
I have twins so my breast milk is not enough!
That is not true, on the contrary, your body can produce enough milk for two or even three children at a time. During the first few weeks after birth, the amount of milk produced by a mother’s body depends on the amount of milk that any amount of babies birthed from the mother needs (from to, to twins, or even more). The more often the infant breastfeeds, the more milk is produced to cover their needs.
Dear mothers, don’t worry about being able to provide enough breastmilk for your baby. Your body is equipped to manage and give all the sustenance needed for exclusive breastfeeding. Have faith in yourself and make sure to eat well and stay healthy so that your breastmilk is always enough. The right support, education, and nutrition can go a long way.
From the Mommy Zone team, we are always here for you.
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