How To Tell If Your Child Is Getting Enough Milk
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My baby is about two months old and all of a sudden my breasts don't feel full. Even though my baby seems happy and I can hear her swallowing, I worry that I'm losing my milk supply. What can I do to make sure my baby is getting enough milk?
The Lactation Consultant Answers:
Don't worry, you are not losing your milk supply. Many mothers find that by two months, the engorgement, fullness and leaking sometimes seen in early lactation become a thing of the past. Often mothers will report that they have moved down a cup-size in their bras as well. The breasts become softer and lighter between feedings, but are still making all the milk your lucky baby needs. You can continue to ensure this by frequent nursing, and remembering to express milk regularly if you are ever separated from your baby.
Unlike with a newborn, stool output is no longer the best way to tell how much milk is going in to a baby over six or eight weeks. While some two month old babies continue to have many smaller loose bowel movements a day, others begin to slow way down and pass one or two stools each day, and some babies decide to save up all that stool and only have one or two bowel movements a week! Any of these patterns may be normal for your breastfed baby. Even if an exclusively breastfed baby is only passing one very large and messy stool a week, it is not constipation if the stool is still soft and loose. Constipation by definition is dry, hard stool, not a decrease in frequency of stool. Prune juice, laxatives or suppositories are not needed for a baby with soft bowel movements who is only passing one per week.
The best way to know that your baby is getting all the milk he needs is to look at him for clues. Is he nursing and swallowing vigorously for at least a few minutes at each feeding? Is he content for an hour or two between nursings? Keep in mind some two month olds still cluster-feed, that is, nurse frequently for several hours in a row, commonly in the evening hours, and then take a longer nap or break between feeding. Having lots of wet diapers? Most importantly, is he continuing to gain weight? Take your baby in for a weight check if you are unsure, and be sure to discuss any specific concerns with your pediatrician.
Congratulations for giving your baby exactly what he needs!