Is My Baby Getting Enough Breast Milk?

January 31, 2012

Many breastfeeding moms wonder if their baby is getting enough breast milk. Of course it’s a common concern, because every mom wants to ensure their little one is getting the nourishment they need. Don’t worry. There are many ways to determine if your baby is getting enough breast milk.

Is your baby breastfeeding frequently?

In general, a baby should nurse 8 to 12 times in a 24-hour period for the first few days to weeks. Doing so will ensure proper nourishment and also help to maintain your supply. If you pump, you can monitor feedings from the measurements on each breast milk bottle. In general, babies between 1 – 6 months of age normally drink an average of 19 – 30 ounces per day. An average size meal for a baby is between 3 – 5 ounces of breast milk. If you’re solely breastfeeding, this may be difficult to measure. Just ensure your little one is having frequent wet diapers and gaining weight appropriately.

Do you or your baby determine the length of feedings?

It’s best to let your baby determine when a feeding is over. That way you can avoid ending a feeding before your baby feels full. Your baby will either come off the breast or fall asleep when they are finished. Also, pay attention to your baby’s hunger cues. If your baby is fidgety, fussy, or just reaching for your chest, it may be time to feed again.

How much weight is your baby gaining?

By 10-14 days after birth, your baby should recover any lost birth weight. Then, you can follow these general baby growth guidelines for the first year.

  • Month 1: Gain 5 to 10 ounces per week
  • Months 2 – 3: Gain 5 to 8 ounces per week
  • Months 3 – 6: Gain 2.5 to 4.5 ounces per week
  • Months 6 – 12: Gain 1 to 3 ounces per week

How does your baby look and act?

In general, if your baby is receiving enough breast milk they should look outwardly healthy. They should be active, alert and content. A happy baby is most likely not a hungry baby. After feedings, your baby should appear content and relaxed. If your baby is lethargic, sleepy and seems uninterested in feeding, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider.

How many wet and dirty diapers is your little one having each day?

Look for your little one to have at least 6 wet diapers and 3 yellow stools  per day by the fifth day after birth. This pattern generally continues for the first 6 months. Then, as they get older they may switch to an infrequent stool pattern, having less than one soiled diaper per day. Stool patterns in older babies can vary considerably, so focus more on a healthy weight gain than the number of stools.

Are you hearing your little one swallow during feedings?

While feeding, you should be able to hear you little one swallowing as milk flows. Then, after feedings you may notice that your breasts feel less “full.”

Moms, how did you know your little one is getting enough breast milk? Share your tips in the comments below.

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