The more your baby feeds, the more milk your body makes

Breastfeeding is a special recipe only you can provide. New babies feed a lot, and some new moms worry that they’re not making enough milk.. When your baby feeds it triggers a response in your body to make more milk to keep up with your baby’s needs.

  • There are ways you can help ensure you have enough milk. Feed often. Feed at least every three hours, or more often if your baby seems hungry. You may need to wake your baby up to feed, especially at first, to keep your baby nourished and your milk supply flowing.
  • For the first two weeks, focus mainly on breastfeeding your baby. Don’t offer a pacifier during this time. Let your baby get comfort and nourishment from you. If possible, avoid pumping breastmilk until you and your baby are well established breastfeeding.
  • Make sure your baby has a good latch. If not, your milk supply may suffer. If you’re not sure, a doctor, nurse, lactation specialist or experienced mom for guidance.
  • Let your baby feed for about 10 minutes at each breast. Draining the milk from your breasts will encourage your body to make more milk.
  • Take care of yourself. Keep water and nutritious snacks on hand where you can reach them while caring for your baby. Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and protein. When you can, sleep when your baby sleeps.
  • Reach out for help. Your partner or a trusted friend or family member can give you a break so you can take a bath, read a book or just relax.
  • If you find breastfeeding challenging or you and your baby need help getting started, talk to a doctor, nurse or lactation specialist as soon as possible. Ask about breastfeeding support groups in your area. Being around other breastfeeding moms can help you feel less isolated, and you can share tips and encouragement.

If You Truly Can’t Breastfeed

Most women can breastfeed. But in some situations, it may not be possible. For instance, if your baby is premature or cannot feed naturally, you may need to pump to empty your breasts and keep up your milk supply until your baby can feed. If you must take medication that can be dangerous for your baby, you may need to use formula. Or if you have multiples — especially more than three babies — you may need to supplement with formula.

If you can’t breastfeed, focus on bonding with your baby. Hold your baby close, skin-to-skin, as often as you can. Always think about all the things you can do for your baby, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad because you can’t breastfeed. Being a happy, loving mom is the best gift you can give.

Find information about breastfeeding support on our website.