In the days and weeks after a baby is born, it can be very hard for new mums to imagine they’re getting enough milk, but a viral image is putting things in perspective.
Am I enough?
At a time when inexperienced new mothers may assume their babies couldn’t possibly be getting enough breastmilk to sustain themselves, this lactation support service shows what’s ‘normal’ – and just how little a baby needs to be healthy and happy.
“See that tiny pink bead on the lanyard?” Kaci Dean of Heart and Bloom Birth and Lactation Services page posted on Facebook.
“That is the size of a newborn’s tiny tummy. When a baby is born, the birthing parent produces colostrum which is the perfect #superfood for baby.”
Breastfeeding advocacy and support service La Leche League tells us that babies’ stomachs are indeed tiny, and while research is still being undertaken to nut out how newborns’ digestive systems develop and grow, feeding on demand is the best approach for all.
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The post goes on to explain that “colostrum is concentrated and contains just the amount of food a baby needs! It passes antibodies designed to protect the bub from illness while preparing his tummy for the milk to come in. It’s #liquidgold!”
See that tiny pink bead on the lanyard? That is the size of a newborn's tiny tummy. When baby is born, the birthing…
While the post makes some comments about tiny babies being over fed formula, leading to breastfeeding interventions, the real takeaway here (in our eyes, at least) is that a new baby’s stomach is even tinier than you’d imagine.
This visual aid shows just how teeny, and might give new mothers a better idea of why babies feed little and often – and perhaps make them feel a little more secure in the knowledge that ‘little and often’ is absolutely RIGHT.
“Your baby only needs a small amount of food in the first few days after birth,” Breastfeeding Australia reminds new mothers. “The amount of colostrum in your breasts is enough to meet his needs.”
How big is a baby’s stomach?
- Day one: 5-7 ml is about the size of a large marble or a cherry
- Day three: 22-27 ml is about the size of a ping-pong ball or a walnut
- One week old: 45-60 ml is about the size of an apricot or plum
- One month old: 80-150 ml is about the size of a large chicken egg
- Adult stomach size is equivalent to a softball or the size of your own fist clenched at rest and has a capacity of 1-4 litres. (Source: La Leche League)
Although some wondered if the author of the brilliant ‘pink bead’ Facebook post was anti-formula feeding, she says she wholeheartedly supports a woman’s right to breastfeed or formula feed and was simply hoping to illustrate why babies only need small amounts of milk in those early days. There is no doubt this pink bead visual analogy really helps bring this into focus. #NiceWork!
If you’re keen to know more, you can read up on breastmilk supply and breastfeeding support at Breastfeeding Australia.