True undersupply - reversible
True undersupply - ongoing
One of the main issues that come up for breastfeeding women in modern society is 'Do I have enough milk?' The perception that a woman may have 'insufficient milk' to feed her baby is one of the main reasons breastfeeding is given up by new mothers prematurely. It is recognised that in most cases, this perception is usually incorrect. However, misinformation about breast milk supply and normal newborn behaviours and appearances, often lead to women giving up their breastfeeding, or starting formula supplementing, as inappropriate solutions to an often non-existent problem.
Caregivers have also tended to over-diagnose 'insufficient milk'. In the not so distant past, the practise of 'test weighing' babies before and after breastfeeds was the method used to estimate how much milk a baby received during a feeding session. This intervention is now recognised as being grossly inaccurate, only causing anxiety in new mothers, encouraging unnecessary formula supplements, and contributing to a woman not relaxing, interfering with her let-down reflex and feeding. One study showed that women whose babies were test weighed, were five times more likely to stop breastfeeding before their baby was one to 2 weeks old, when compared to women whose babies were not test weighed.
However, many women will still communicate personal concerns about whether their baby is 'getting enough'. Perhaps this stems from not being able to visually see and/or measure the amount of milk the baby drinks (as you can with a bottle). To know if your baby is 'getting enough' and thriving, they should: