Growth spurt or low milk supply? How to tell the difference

Most babies will experience "frequency days," when they want to breastfeed more than usual. This need to breastfeed more often generally lasts a few days to a week, followed by a return to a less frequent feeding pattern. We don't really have a complete understanding of this phenomenon, but the frequency days do seem to coincide with times of faster growth and thus the more common name of "growth spurts" has been adopted.

Growth spurts seem to occur most commonly around one to three weeks, six to eight weeks, three months and six months of age. Like most milestones, these time frames are just guidelines.

Trust what your baby is telling you about her need to breastfeed more frequently and follow her feeding cues. As long as you are not restricting your baby's access to the breast, your milk supply should be adequate. The best way to ensure a good milk supply is to allow your baby to determine the frequency and duration of breastfeeding sessions once breastfeeding is established. The more your baby breastfeeds, the more milk you will make.

Many mothers misinterpret the baby's need to breastfeed frequently as a sign that their milk supply has diminished, but this is usually not true. If your baby is having a normal weight gain pattern during her routine physicals, is producing at least five to six sopping wet diapers per day, and is having a normal number of bowel movements, that is a good sign that you have plenty of milk for your baby. Just go along with your baby's temporary, increased need to breastfeed, understanding it is a normal and expected phase.

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