Wondering whether youre producing enough milk

One of the many things that new mothers worry about is whether they have enough breast milk for their baby to thrive. If your baby is putting on weight every week and your maternal and child health nurse is happy with her progress, you should have no need to worry.

Food for thought

We asked the IVF mums in our study how they were feeding their babies and found that:

I Almost all started breastfeeding their babies in hospital (89 per cent)

I Compared with other mums, at three months fewer of the IVF mums were either fully breastfeeding (45 per cent versus 62 per cent) or partly breastfeeding (64 per cent versus 72 per cent)

I Over half the IVF mums continued to breastfeed their baby for more than six months (54 per cent)

I Compared with other mums, the IVF mums were more likely to breastfeed their baby beyond one year (27 per cent versus 15 per cent)

Based on these figures and comments that the women shared with us, most IVF mums hope to breastfeed their babies and do indeed start.

I If they have problems in the first couple of months or they're unsure about their milk supply, they either stop breastfeeding altogether or give their babies both breast milk and formula.

I If it's smooth sailing from the beginning and they have no worries about their milk supply, they find breastfeeding very satisfying and enjoyable and breastfeed their babies for a long time.

If you're not sure whether you're producing enough milk or you have trouble breastfeeding your baby, a lactation consultant can come to your rescue. To find a consultant in your area:

^ Check out your local Yellow Pages under 'Lactation consultants'.

^ Visit the website of the Australian Lactation Consultants' Association (www.alca.asn.au) and click on Community and then Find a Lactation Consultant.

Mother Nature is clever because the more your baby suckles, the more milk you produce. If you're keen to breastfeed your baby but concerned about whether you have enough milk, the best way to increase your milk supply is to let your baby suckle more frequently for a few days.

If you plan to breastfeed your baby and try very hard but just can't manage, you may feel disappointed and frustrated. But please don't feel guilty about it: If breastfeeding becomes a nightmare, revert to plan B — formula.

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