Health Topics

Breast Milk Supply

You will experience changes in your baby's feeding patterns as well as your breast milk supply.  Some mothers worry when these changes happen and may be concerned they are not producing enough milk for their baby.

Common misconceptions about your milk supply

Most mothers make enough milk for their babies for as long as they wish to breastfeed.  What is really happening when:

You pump or hand express only small amounts of milk
Pumping or hand expression may not work as well as your baby does at getting milk. The milk you get from pumping is not a good way to measure your milk supply. Your baby is best at getting breast milk out.

Learn more about expressing and storing your milk.

Your baby is feeding often
It is normal for your baby to eat eight or more times in a day. Babies have small stomachs.

  • Babies may eat different amounts at each feeding
  • Feeding patterns can change from morning to evening and day to day
  • You may feed your baby more in the evening, helping them to prepare for longer sleeps at night
  • Your baby may cry or fuss for reasons other than hunger; always try to breastfeed first to see if your baby is hungry
  • Babies have regular growth spurts that will make them more hungry 

Your breasts start to feel softer
After giving birth, your breasts make more milk than your baby needs. As your baby grows, your body adjusts milk production to meet your baby’s needs.

  • It is normal for your breasts to feel less full at this stage
  • If your baby continues to grow well, you are making enough milk for your baby

Your baby is having shorter feedings
It is normal for older babies to feed for a shorter amount of time.  It is normal for some feedings to be short and others to be longer. 

  • As your baby grows, they get better at breastfeeding
  • Some babies can drink a lot of milk in a very short time

How to maintain a good milk supply

A good milk supply begins with a good latch, proper positioning of your baby and frequent milk removal.  Here are some other tips for maintaining a good milk supply:

  • Watch your baby, not the clock.
  • If your baby is drinking well, you should hear and see swallowing. The amount of swallowing is more important than the amount of time spent breastfeeding.
  • Let your baby drink from one side before starting the other.
  • Feed your baby whenever they seem hungry.
  • Enjoy lots of skin-to-skin time with your baby.

Is your baby is getting enough milk?

Your baby is getting enough milk if they are having lots of wet and poopy diapers. Babies older than six weeks can go many days without a poopy diaper but still be getting enough milk.  Take your baby to regular doctor visits to have them weighed.  If they are gaining weight well, they are getting enough milk.

This table describes the number of wet and poopy diapers your baby will have based on the baby's age.

Baby's age 1 day 3 days 5 days 7 days 3 wks 6 wks
Tummy size size of a cherry size of a walnut size of an apricot size of an egg size of an egg size of an egg
Wet diapers at least 1 at least 3 at least 5 at least 6 6 to 8 very wet 6 to 8 very wet
Poopy diapers 1 or 2 black/dark green at least 3 brown, green or yellow at least 3 soft/yellow/seedy at least 3 soft/yellow/seedy at least 3 soft/yellow/seedy at least 3 soft/yellow/seedy

View BestStart's Guidelines for Nursing Mothers Reference Chart

Contact us

To talk to someone about breastfeeding and to get connected to face to face help, contact:

Health Connections
Phone 905-546-3550
Email [email protected]