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5 ways to know your baby is getting enough milk

Updated: Apr 28


As a new mom you may be concerned about your newborns breast milk intake.


When breastfeeding, it's hard to track every ounce, right? But that doesn't mean there's no way for you to know if your baby's getting enough milk from the breast. Take a minute and ask yourself the following 5 questions if you think your baby is not getting enough.



Is my baby having enough wet and dirty diapers?

   

Wet diapers are a very big indicator of a baby receiving enough fluid. On day one post-partum it is expected to only see one wet diaper, increasing one more per day until day four. At that point you should see six plus diapers a day. The urine should be pale and mild smelling.


    In terms of dirty diapers you should be watching for a single diaper on day one, increasing another each day until the third day. At which point you will see two to four dirty diapers by day four. The first stools will be a black and green, and tar like in consistency. After the first couple of days you will see that the stool

becomes more yellow in colour and seedy in consistency.



Are my breasts full when I finish a feed?

    If the breasts are harder to the touch, this usually indicated that the breasts are still full. A soft and tender breast often indicates that they have been well drained and have settled to your baby's needs.



Is my baby gaining weight?

    During the first few weeks the weight gain of your baby may seem minuscule, you must remember that your baby's feeding patterns are frequent but she's drinking very small amounts in the first few weeks. 


A 5-7% weight loss during the first week after birth is normal. The birth weight should be regained by day 10-14. After that, weight gain in the first six months ranges from 140-200 grams (5-7 ounces) a week.

Please remember that weight gain should be assessed by a healthcare provider and a board certified lactation consultant or feeding specialist. Tracking apps or other charts that you find in a google search won't be always accurate.


If your baby is exclusively breastfed and gaining weight, healthy, happy and having wet and dirty diapers as expected, most likely your baby is getting enough milk and don’t need supplementation.



Is my baby showing signs of hunger? Am I catching them early?

    Signs of hunger can range between children. You may frequently see different stages of hunger cues at different points of your baby’s day. In the early stages of hunger, your baby will show signs such as sucking of the fist, fingers, or thumbs, moving her head from side to side as if looking for the breast, as well as turning her head into the breast.


   In later stages of hunger your baby will move his head frantically from side to side, as well as cry in frustration. In which case your baby will need to be calmed prior to feeding, or she will become more irritated.


It's recommended that you catch the early hunger cues. You should avoid any kind of feeding schedule and always feed your baby on demand, unless indicated differently by your baby's healthcare provider in a special situation (such as when there's low birth weight, with premature babies, or others).



Is my baby feeding properly?

  

    Active feeding is the ideal feeding for a baby. This includes the baby being positioned correctly and achieving a good latch. In a proper positioning at the breast you will see the baby's chin drop down with each swallow and should hear an audible gulp.


During the later stages of nursing it would be more apparent that your baby is getting enough: he's content, his body looks relaxed and he's not showing any hunger cues. It may be harder for you to actively hear that swallow when your baby is a newborn. In that case you will be focusing more on the chin, jaw and neck movements as opposed to audible sounds.


If after reading this you're not sure if your baby's getting enough milk, please reach out to a lactation consultant to check if your baby's needs are being met or supplementation will be necessary. We will be happy to help!



Book a consultation here.

By Deena Zacks. Edited by Paola Vallarino. April 2022. Toronto, CA.



References:

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