Breastfeeding: Common Breastfeeding Challenges (cont.)

Low milk supply

Most mothers can make plenty of milk for their babies. But many mothers are concerned about having enough.

Checking your baby's weight and growth is the best way to make sure he or she is getting enough milk. Let the doctor know if you are concerned. For more ways to tell if your baby is getting enough milk, visit the How to know your baby is getting enough milk section.

There may be times when you think your supply is low, but it is actually just fine:

When your baby is around 6 weeks to 2 months old, your breasts may no longer feel full. This is normal. At the same time, your baby may nurse for only five minutes at a time. This can mean that you and baby are just adjusting to the breastfeeding process -  and getting good at it!

Growth spurts can cause your baby to want to nurse longer and more often. These growth spurts can happen around 2 to 3 weeks, 6 weeks, and 3 months of age. They can also happen at any time. Don't be alarmed that your supply is too low to satisfy your baby. Follow your baby's lead - nursing more and more often will help build up your milk supply. Once your supply increases, you will likely be back to your usual routine.

What you can do

  1. Make sure your baby is latched on and positioned well.
  2. Breastfeed often and let your baby decide when to end the feeding.
  3. Offer both breasts at each feeding. Have your baby stay at the first breast as long as he or she is still sucking and swallowing. Offer the second breast when the baby slows down or stops.
  4. Try to avoid giving your baby formula or cereal as it may lead to less interest in breast milk. This will decrease your milk supply. Your baby doesn't need solid foods until he or she is at least 6 months old. If you need to supplement the baby's feedings, try using a spoon, cup, or a dropper.
  5. Limit or stop pacifier use while trying the above tips at the same time.

Ask for help! Let your baby's doctor know if you think the baby is not getting enough milk.