Signs that your baby is getting enough milk
It is common to wonder if your baby is getting enough milk. Most babies lose weight in the first several days after birth but regain it within a week or two. Weight gain is more rapid after mature milk is produced, about 10 to 15 days after you deliver your baby. After breast-feeding is established, your baby will also get more hindmilk, which provides additional fat and calories. Look for signs that your baby is getting enough milk, such as having regular dirty and wet diapers. If you still have concerns, see When to Call a Doctor.
If you aren't sure if your baby is getting enough milk, talk to your doctor. He or she can help you to find the problem, if one exists. Don't supplement your breast-fed baby's diet with formula unless your doctor recommends it. Extra feedings with formula can interfere with your breast milk production and may lead to early weaning.
When to start supplements or other food
Feeding your baby will change through the first year. When your baby reaches 6 months of age, you can start adding other foods besides breast milk. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breast-feeding babies for at least the first year and giving only breast milk for the first 6 months.6
Doctors usually recommend against supplementing a breast-fed baby's diet with formula, food, or water during the first 6 months, even during a growth spurt. Supplementing can decrease your milk production. Early bottle feedings can also make it harder for your baby to latch on to your breast.
Although breast-fed babies get the best possible nutrition, they will probably need certain vitamin or nutritional supplements (especially iron) to maintain or improve their health. Talk with your doctor about how much and what sources of supplements are right for your child. Vitamin D for babies is usually a liquid supplement that you add to a bottle of breast milk with a dropper or drip into your baby's mouth.
Signs of weaning
It's best for you and your baby if you breast-feed for a full year. If you keep breast-feeding beyond 1 year, your baby will continue to benefit. After the first year, look for signs that your baby is ready to wean, such as refusing to breast-feed or showing interest in drinking from a cup. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about weaning.
Whenever you decide to wean, keep in mind that suddenly stopping breast-feeding may be harder for both you and your baby than a gradual decrease in feeding frequency.
To learn more about weaning, see the topic Weaning.