Managing Your Milk Supply

Find your care

If you are a new patient seeking prenatal care, please call 310-794-7274. If you are an established patient and need to reach labor and delivery, call 310-825-9111 for the BirthPlace Westwood or 424-259-8250 for the BirthPlace Santa Monica.

What to expect on Days 2-5:

  • After 2-3 days following delivery, your milk will change. Colostrum, your first milk, will begin to change into mature milk.
  • Your baby will breastfeed at least 8 times in 24 hours, and probably more! Your baby's tummy is little, so frequent feedings are normal. Breastfed babies do not eat on a schedule. It is okay if your baby eats every one to two hours. This is called cluster feeding.
  • You may notice changes in your breasts. They may feel warm, full, heavy, or even leak. You may feel tired and overwhelmed. Remember to rest as much as possible when baby is sleeping. Continue eating a well-balanced diet and drink water when you are thirsty.

What to expect the first 4-6 weeks:

Woman breastfeeding her child
  • By 4-6 weeks, your body will adjust to making the right amount of milk. Your breasts may not feel full like before. Don't worry - there is still enough milk in there! As long as your baby is gaining enough weight, then your body is making enough milk.
  • Your milk may look bluish-white at the beginning of a feeding and more creamy at the end of a feeding.
  • Your baby will continue to breastfeed at least 8 times in 24 hours, including through the night. Your baby has learned to breastfeed better, so feedings may be shorter. Your baby's tummy is larger and can hold more milk, so feedings may be further apart.
  • As babies grow and need more milk, they will drink more at each feeding. They may want to feed more often. The "hungry days," called growth spurts, often occur at 2-3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months of age. More sucking and emptying causes your body to make more milk.

Exclusive breastfeeding is encouraged while establishing a full milk supply. Even just one bottle of formula can decrease the chance of successful breastfeeding, therefore formula supplementation is only recommended when there is a medical reason. Formula supplementation prior to establishing a full milk supply:

Woman drinking water

 

  • Increases engorgement by not emptying the breasts
  • Increases the chance of allergy to cow's milk protein
  • Can cause nipple confusion/flow preference and lead to difficulty latching
  • Increases the risk of diarrhea and tummy upsets and can take up to one month to return to normal
  • Decreases mother's milk supply
  • Decreases mother's confidence in being able to feed her baby
  • Reduces duration of breastfeeding

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. At six months, continue breastfeeding while introducing solid foods as complementary foods. Continue breastfeeding until one year of life or as long as mother and child mutually agree.

Join our Mother/Baby Support Group!

Westwood
Wednesdays 1:30-3pm
200 Medical Plaza, Room 206

Santa Monica
Thursdays 12-1:30 pm
1250 16Tth Street, Room 2408