Is My Baby Getting Enough Milk?
When breastfeeding, how can you tell if your baby is getting enough milk? Here are some reassuring signs to look for.
Baby is gaining weight. Babies may lose a bit of weight just after birth, but usually by day 10 they have returned to birth weight. Then, they gain between 5 and 8 ounces a week until they are six months old. At that time, they are just about double their birth weight.
Your baby is eating regularly. Babies who are getting enough milk eat at regular intervals through the day (and night). They are happy and content after a feeding—unless there is another issue causing discomfort. Early on, the baby will eat 8 to 12 times a day for 20 to 45 minutes. If the baby is eating less than this or if the sessions are very long or very short, they may not be getting the milk they need.
Baby sucks, swallows, and releases. Watch your baby during a feeding. Are they latching, sucking (rapid at first then slower and deeper), and swallowing? Do they release after that 10-20 minutes on each side? These are all good signs.
You are changing lots of wet and dirty diapers during the day. For the first couple of weeks, your baby will probably have an equal number of wet and dirty diapers—maybe five of each? The exact number isn’t important just that the baby has many throughout the day. Remember, after your baby passes the initial meconium, the soiled diaper of a breastfed baby looks mustard yellow and has a sticky, seedy texture.
Your breasts feel softer when the baby is done eating. Your breasts will feel full and tighter just before a feeding. You may even leak a little milk. (Small nursing pads can protect your bra and clothing—just remember to change them often.) After your baby nurses, your breasts will feel softer.
If you think any of these signs are missing, talk to your provider or a lactation consultant.
Also, keep in mind that your baby will go through growth spurts—when it feels like they want to eat all the time. Growth spurts are important and increase mom’s milk supply. Ten days, three weeks, six weeks, three months, and six months are common times for these. These usually last 2-3 days. Then your baby will settle into a new routine, usually going longer between feedings.
Feeding your baby will be a major focus for the rest of their lives, but in those early days, the options may seem overwhelming. Tennessee Family Doulas happily support your choices and help you find the methods that work well for your family. Reach out!