Is Baby Getting Enough Milk? Breastfeeding Supply & Demand

By Doraine Bailey

Happily, a mother’s milk supply is designed to meet and even exceed this demand.

At birth, colostrum is ready in small amounts to match baby’s small capacity. Over the next week, as mom and baby breastfeed about every two hours, the milk supply will jump up and then level off.

One study showed that breastfeeding moms made on average 15% more milk than the baby needed at each breastfeeding.

So why are moms worried about supply?

Sometimes a mom doesn’t know that the baby’s normal one-hour sleep cycle and tiny tummy mean baby will need to eat frequently.

So moms worry their milk isn’t “good enough.”

Other times, even after mom has fed the baby, the baby is “fussy.”

This fussiness can be as much from overeating as it is from hunger.

Or, partway through a feeding, the baby begins to move around and come on-and-off the breast. This is because the baby is trying to stimulate more milk to flow.

Bottom line: Moms make enough milk when they empty the breast and feed the baby frequently.

Offering a bottle of formula or expressed milk, or a pacifier, takes time away from the breast, and interferes with establishing that supply.

Talk to someone if you have any concerns.

While things will be intense those early days and weeks, it will build a foundation for success.

Doraine Bailey, MA, IBCLC, is with Breastfeeding Support Services at the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.

Contact her at 859-288-2348 or