This is a very common question, especially when you first start breast feeding or you are a first-time mum. Although it is impossible to tell you how much a baby is drinking, there are positive signs which can reassure you that all is well. Poor feeding could be a sign that your baby is unwell.
Go to the nearest Hospital Emergency (A&E) Department or phone 999
Please ring your GP surgery or call NHS 111 - dial 111
Continue providing your child’s care at home. If you are still concerned about your child contact your Health Visitor or call NHS 111 – dial 111
Breast feeding is a tricky skill that both mum and babies need to learn together. It is very common for women to experience some discomfort at the beginning of a feed whilst your breasts/nipples adapt to feeding regularly.
If you and your baby are comfortable with breast feeding, then you are doing fine. Signs that the baby is latching well to the breast include your baby holding a large mouthful of the breast, taking long sucks with pauses from time to time and coming off the breast feeling content at the end of a feed. Your breast or nipple should not feel sore afterwards.
Occasionally, a baby may be unable to open their mouth wide enough to latch on to the breast properly because they have a tongue tie. Click here for more information.
Click here for more information about breast feeding positions and latching on.
Generally speaking, the more your baby feeds - the more breast milk you will produce. However, if you're worried that your baby isn't getting enough milk, talk to your midwife, health visitor or a breast feeding specialist as soon as possible. With their help and advice, you'll be able to identify the problem and find a solution.
Things that could affect your milk supply include:
If you feel you need to boost your milk supply, there are a few ways that you can do this:
If you are doing all these things already but you're still concerned you have a low milk supply, ask your midwife to refer you to a breast feeding specialist. Feeding specialists are very understanding and will be able to have a look at how your baby's feeding and offer practical advice, help and support.
Expressing milk means extracting milk out of your breasts (using a breast pump or hand expressing) so you can store it and feed it to your baby at a later time.
There are some really good reasons why you might need to feed your baby expressed breast milk:
However, if you do feed your baby expressed breast milk, it is important you adhere to strict advice with regards to hygiene and methods involved. Here is the link to all you need know about Expressing Breast Milk and storing it.
Click here for some tips on what you should be eating if you're breast feeding.
And more importantly, here is some information on food that you should be avoiding where possible.
While it's safer not to drink any alcohol whilst breast feeding, an occasional alcoholic drink (i.e. 1 or 2 units once or twice a week) is unlikely to harm your baby.
Click here for more information
If you are breast feeding, a balanced diet will provide most vitamins you need. However, you should consider a vitamin D supplement due to the lack of sunshine most of the year in the UK.
Click here for more information.
There is a lot of help and support available for breastfeeding in the community close to where you live. You can talk to your midwife, health visitor or contact any of the breast feeding support services listed below: