Articles and Topics
Supplemental breastfeeding?
Q: I usually feed my baby every three hours. Recently, it seems like she’s nursing more than ever, sometimes every half hour. Does this mean I’m not producing enough milk? Should I supplement her with formula?
A: It sounds like your baby may be going through a growth spurt. These occur on several occasions during the first year of life. It’s not uncommon for the first growth spurts to happen at 2 to 3 weeks of age, and at 2, 4 and 6 months, but every baby is different.

During a growth spurt, your baby needs extra milk and will temporarily nurse more frequently. Your body is in tune with your baby and is designed to make the extra milk she needs. When your baby nurses, your brain receives a signal to produce more milk. So the extra feedings your baby requires are the perfect cues for your body to make more milk. Within a couple of days, your milk supply will accommodate your baby’s new requirements, and feeding should return to its old pattern.

It’s important that you eat well, drink plenty of liquids and avoid supplementing her with formula. If you provide formula, your body will not receive the proper signals to make the additional milk your baby needs.

The best way to make more milk is to increase the frequency of feedings, as you are doing. Some women drop all other obligations for a day or two when their baby has a growth spurt. They curl up with their baby at home and have a “baby-moon” – a honeymoon with baby. During this time, they focus on their baby, eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water, sleep or rest when the baby sleeps, and relax. This can be the best way to support your body as it responds to your baby’s cues to drink more.

Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist