Is My Baby Getting Enough Breastmilk?

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is my baby getting enough breast milk

This is a question that gets asked by a LOT of new moms. Until breastfeeding is well established and a child is gaining weight, many moms get nervous about whether they’re producing enough and whether their child is adequately nourished.

On top of it all, babies always lose a bit of weight during the first few days of life – about five to nine percent. While this dip in weight is expected, it still tends to surprise new parents. Here are some guidelines you can rely on along the way.

How do you tell if your baby is getting enough?

The best way to tell that your child is receiving enough breastmilk is to check his/her diapers. During the first days postpartum, a mother’s body will produce thick colostrum for her baby, which is full of immunity-boosting substances and lots of fat. You won’t get a lot of wet diapers during this period, maybe two or three a day.

Once regular milk comes in, your baby should produce between six and 10 wet diapers a day. Don’t expect many bowel movements during the first couple weeks, but after this initial period, you should see one soiled diaper a day.

Here are some other signs that your baby is feeding well:

  • You hear audible swallowing sounds when baby is nursing.
  • Your baby is gaining weight, about 5 ounces per week after the first week.
  • Your breasts feel soft and empty after breastfeeding (because your infant has a full belly).
  • If your baby was anxious or fussy before a feeding, s/he’s relaxed afterwards.
  • You let your baby determine how long to nurse. If your child stops on their own, s/he’s satisfied.
  • Feedings are lasting about 10 to 20 minutes per breast. Longer is OK!
  • Your baby has good color, firm skin and appears active and alert.

It’s tough to judge if your baby is getting enough by the amount of time they spend nursing. Some babies like to nurse all the time because it comforts them. Others like to eat a lot at once and then stop for a while. All babies (and their bodies) are different.

Keep in mind that in nearly all cases, you are more than equipped to provide enough breastmilk for your child. Your body will gauge the amount you need and supply accordingly. There are plenty of women who create enough breastmilk to care for two or three babies without the need to supplement. You also don’t want too much milk, which can be painful for you.

If you don’t notice any of the signs above OR notice any of the signs below, talk to your doctor or a lactation consultant.

  • After five days, your baby continues to lose weight, or your baby begins to lose weight at any time.
  • Your baby’s urine is dark (like apple juice). This means there’s not enough liquid in his diet.
  • Feedings take longer than an hour and your baby doesn’t seem satisfied.

Always remember that you can’t over-feed an infant! Don’t hold back because you think baby has had enough. Give him plenty of time at your breast so he can eat until he (or she) is completely satisfied. This one of those times that we let nature make the call.

breastfeeding shirt clipWritten by Melissa LaHann, Founder and CEO of Happy Fig, LLC

Like many moms before her, Melissa cradled her hungry, crying baby as she clumsily adjusted her bra and sat uncomfortably holding up her shirt. Before she knew it, her baby was squirming, her shirt was falling, and the nursing session was interrupted. She needed a better solution, so she created LatchPal, the first nursing clip of its kind.

LatchPal is a breastfeeding shirt clip that holds up a mother’s shirt during breastfeeding. It eliminates shirt re-positioning and feeding disruptions, and helps a mom nurse hands-free in comfort to maximize milk flow. LatchPal was designed with moms in mind. The multi-use solution only requires one hand to latch. It’s a must-have breastfeeding accessory and essential for post-partum moms, pumping moms, and nursing in public.

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