Saturday, May 31, 2014

There is NO Answer to this Common Breastfeeding Question...

Mommies are always asking: "How many ounces of breast milk does my baby need?" If I had dollar for every time I was asked this common question I would be one rich RN! The answer I always give is typically unsatisfying, but totally true: I (and anyone else for that matter) have NO IDEA! Sorry!

Our generation is determined to quantify everything.  We love data; our easy access to information via the Internet has morphed us into people with an overwhelming desire to understand even the most insignificant pieces of info.

Ounces is a bottle conversation, specifically it is a formula conversation.  The composition of your preferred formula is stable, it does not change as the baby’s needs change. Formula does not adjust in fat throughout the day and your baby will typically have roughly the same intake with each feeding.

Breast milk however is dramatically different!  The composition, the fat and water amounts, change throughout the day, week be week and month by month.  Just as our adult hunger levels vary throughout the day, so does your baby’s. They do not eat one static amount with each feeding and the richness of the milk changes. This is a great and natural thing! Mommies are able to cater to the exact needs of their babies!

This is why I encourage all of my new Moms to imagine they are a cave mommy.  Cave mommy had it easier since she didn’t try to quantify. Cave Mommy didn’t know her baby’s birth weight, discharge weight or what an ounce even was, and thus it was easier for her! Remember: WWCMD (What would cave mommy do??)...

We don’t’ NEED to know how much breast milk a baby is getting since it honestly doesn’t matter without knowing what the exact composition is at any given time (which is nearly impossible!).

Allow yourself to NOT have the data, please do NOT Google “How much breast milk does my 8 week old need?” no matter what the answer you read is, it simply can not be true, as again, milk changes so dramatically person to person, feeding to feeding.  Think of it this way; one ounce of chicken noodle soup vs. one ounce of lobster bisque; same amount yet the bisque will surely leave you feeling fuller longer.

Unsatisfying answer? Sorry again ;)

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