Lactation difficulties are not completely prevented by using PDF; you are rested and eating properly, your baby is getting enough food and growing, and your life is relatively predictable. So you might think that you’re immune from production issues, right? There are many more factors which play in to milk production that just the ones I listed.
Factors that can affect milk supply include:
Amount of sleep a mother receives
Mom’s diet & nutrition
Her state of mind
Whether this is her first child or sixth
Mom’s desire to breastfeed
Her capacity to nurse
A mother’s nursing techniques
Her baby’s ability to properly latch on
If you’re nursing, keeping tabs on your baby’s growth is incredibly important—your baby’s life depends on it. How will you know if he’s getting enough milk or nutrition? Unfortunately, the breast tissue isn’t transparent and we cannot see exactly how much milk your baby is drinking or your body is producing. Fortunately, there are other ways to achieve our goal.
In the first week of life, your baby will receive colostrum before your milk comes in. Not only is this rich in antibodies and helps your baby’s immune system develop, but it helps him pass his first stool—meconium. This is a black, tarry substance and will be in the first diaper or two after birth. He will transition to a brown substance and then as your milk comes in, to a mustard yellow stool that is watery or loose. A bottle-fed baby will pass stools that are firmer and more clay-coloured than a breastfed baby.
Within 24-48 hours, your baby should start having wet diapers, increasing to two or three per day.
As your baby works at sucking colostrum and then milk, you should hear a pattern of “suck, suck, suck, swallow.” This will be rhythmic and there will be no “clicking” noises—clicking indicates that your baby is improperly latched and potentially isn’t getting a good amount of milk from you. If you hear this, unlatch him from your breast and re-attach him. If it continues, talk to your pediatrician.
In the second and subsequent weeks of life, you should also notice 6-8 wet diapers a day in addition to at least 3 stools per day. His urine should be clear (not yellow), and he should be gaining alertness as each day passes. He should also be growing and gaining weight—weight gain is the surest sign of healthy growth. Any two days in a row of deviation from the growth indicators listed should be reported to your pediatrician immediately.