One of the most common questions most new breastfeeding moms have is how to tell if their baby is getting enough breast milk. We all know that breastfeeding is hard to measure and quantify, and the last thing every mother wants is to leave her baby hungry. So we listed down some signs that can tell you that your baby is eating just right!
This is the main indicator that your baby is getting enough milk–his or her weight gain. Once you leave the hospital, be aware of how heavy your baby initially was, and have a baby scale at home to track his or her weight gain. Don’t panic if your baby loses weight within the first few days of birth, this is normal. But your baby should be back to his or her original birth weight by the time he or she is two weeks old, and should consistently gain around one to three pounds every month.
You can also speak with your pediatrician to discuss the average weight gain of your child, and the time periods you can start measuring your baby.
For the first five days of your baby’s life, your baby should have one diaper for every day that your child has been born. So if your baby is one day old, he or she should at least have one wet diaper. If your baby is five days old, he or she should at least have five wet diapers.
If your baby has less diapers than he or she is supposed to have, or has urine that is concentrated and dark yellow in color, you might want to try feeding him or her more often, or bring this up with a doctor.
Just like wet diapers, the same rule applies to dirty diapers when it comes to your baby’s first five days of life.
In the first days, your baby’s stool will be greenish-black and sticky. This is called meconium. Meconium accumulates in your baby’s stomach during pregnancy, and is typically passed out by the first and second day of your baby’s life. By the third day, the stool of your child should be getting lighter in color, going from green towards mustard-yellow color, with a seedy or watery consistency. Again, don’t be alarmed if your baby’s stool consistency varies, each baby passes stool differently.
While this may not be the most reliable sign that your baby is getting enough milk, it is one way to make sure that your baby doesn’t go hungry.
When your baby first latches onto your breast, he or she will suck rapidly in the first one or two minutes–this helps release milk from your breast. After the rapid suction, your baby should progress to a deep slow pulling motion.
If you do not see or hear these, then your baby may be swallowing incorrectly, or it may be a sign of a poor latch. If this is the case, it’s best to consult with a lactation specialist.
Another sign that your baby is getting enough to eat is that he or she is alert and responsive.
Other things to look for are moist lips, firm skin and muscles–you want your baby’s skin to bounce back if you pinch it gently, and a healthy color–you don’t want your baby pale or sallow looking.
An overly fussy or lethargic baby may be a cause for concern. If this is the case, you should consult with your doctor right away.
If you notice that he or she isn’t developing at a normal rate, then this may be the time for you to consult with a pediatrician.
Wondering if you are providing your baby with enough milk is a very valid concern. However, it’s also something you shouldn’t be too obsessed about. In the end, these signs may differ as baby’s patterns don’t necessarily follow a strict timeline or code. If you think something’s out of the ordinary, just let your doctor know. Also, trust in yourself that you will provide enough milk for your child, and that you will raise a healthy and happy child.
- BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board. “How to Tell Whether Your Baby’s Getting Enough Breast Milk.” BabyCenter. Last updated January 2017.
- Murray, Donna. “The Signs Your Baby Is Getting Enough Breast Milk.” Verywell Family. Last updated October 4, 2017.
- Newman, Jack. “Ways to Tell if Your Baby is Getting Enough Breast Milk.” Verywell Family. Last updated July 13, 2017.
- Smith, Anne. “How Can I Tell If My Baby Is Getting Enough Milk?” Breastfeeding Basics. Last updated September 2016.
- Tchang, Kimberly. “Is My Baby Getting Enough Breast Milk.” Fit Pregnancy. Date accessed June 6, 2018.