How much breast milk does a newborn need?
Some young mothers begin to worry immediately after childbirth — the baby is already born, but there are no fountains of milk from the breast! OMG! What will the baby eat? Won’t he remain hungry? What if there is not enough breast milk? Actually, situations when a mother cannot produce enough milk to feed her newborn are extremely rare.
Unfortunately, because of different myths and ads of infant formula, young mothers are often misled about the insufficient amount of their breast milk, and they begin to feed their newborns with formula. Often, it is not necessary. Almost always, the more you breastfeed, the more milk you will have.
Sometimes, mothers don’t believe that colostrum (the thick yellow liquid oozing from the breast) is quite sufficient for the newborn nutrition in the first days and they begin to give formula. This is a huge mistake. The volume of a newborn’s stomach is really tiny. In 99% of cases, there is no need for complementary feeding with infant formula up to one month.
Many may have heard that a newborn’s stomach has the size of a golf ball, but it’s actually even smaller!
In a newborn the gastric volume is 5−7 ml. Scientists have found that the stomach of a newborn on the 1st day of life is not able to stretch to accommodate to more food. The stomach walls in newborns are rigid, that’s why newborns often spit up the excess of milk. Your colostrum is for sure sufficient for first feedings!
The volume of the stomach of a baby on the 3rd day of life is 22−30 ml. Frequent feedings in small portions allow the milk to be well absorbed.
On the 7th day, the volume of the stomach is 45−60 ml. Frequent breastfeedings will provide your baby with the necessary nutrition. Step by step, your body will produce enough milk in accordance with the needs of your newborn.
In order to clearly imagine the volume of the stomach of your newborn, you can use this picture.
It is obvious that in the first days, newborns don’t need food in large volumes. All the same, learn how to increase lactation.
In the first days after birth, colostrum helps to improve the digestive system of the baby. It has good protective properties and gives all the necessary elements for your tiny baby!
After 2−6 days, many mothers feel the «arrival» of breast milk, which is sometimes accompanied by breast engorgement. Breastfeeding can be painful for the first couple of days. Frequent breastfeeding will help get rid of discomfort. At the beginning, your body doesn’t know how much milk your baby needs, but you will gradually adjust your milk supply to required quantity.