So, I saw yet another mom today who feels defeated due to what her pediatrician told her. Deep sigh. She was told her breastfed baby was not drinking enough milk. He said that she needed to be giving 5-6 ounces of breastmilk at each feed, every few hours.
This just baffles me. Are we using the Academy of Pediatrics or the WHO as a resource or are we just sticking to what we have heard from friends and colleagues, who may have a bias?
Don't get me wrong, there is a time and a place to discuss 5-6 ounces of milk-cow's milk!
Most formula is made from cow's milk. With formula, the contents do not change and adapt over time. The ingredients do not adapt to the baby's age or nutritional needs.
When you go to the grocery store do you see formula in groups of newborn, 3 month, 6 month, 9 month, 12 month formula? No.
There is one formula for the first year of life. But what if the baby grows and needs a different amount of fat, water, or nutrients?
Well, then we add more scoops of formula to equal the nutritional content that the baby needs. Which means we would need a larger amount of milk to give the infants to grow properly.
For human milk, after the milk transitions from colostrum to white milk- babies require approximately 24-30 ounces every 24 hours which may mean that when feeding on demand, they receive 2-3 ounces
every 2-3 hours. In THE WHOLE FIRST YEAR of their breastfeeding journey. When infants are introduced to solids this will vary somewhat due to receiving nutrition from additional sources.
Some babies feed every hour in the beginning... some babies feed every 3 hours if they are able to pull 3+ ounces each time. In the years that I have been a nurse and IBCLC I can count on one hand how many times I've seen babies transfer 5 ounces of breastmilk when exclusively breastfeeding. It is possible, but not the norm.
So, please don't discourage the moms that are literally trying their best from feeding on demand. Feeding healthy babies who are able to tell us when they want to eat. This may be every hour, or every 2-3 hours. If the baby is not gaining weight, please refer to an IBCLC so we can investigate why. Could it be tethered oral tissue? Poor lip seal? Positioning? Timing feeds? Limiting feeds? Pain from yeast/thrush?
Parents are up all night, and if their goal is to exclusively breastfeed let's encourage them and give them reliable resources to help them meet their goals.
Crystel Corbin, RN, IBCLC
Owner of Latch
+Clinical Guidelines for the Establishment of Exclusive Breastfeeding (International Lactation Consultant Association, 2005)
+Look at the Baby, Not the Scale by Dr. Jay Gordon and Cheryl Taylor White