THE MOST COMMON FEAR IN BREASTFEEDING MOMS IS…
“How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk” or “I just hate the thought of my baby being hungry.” This is a great question to ask, and the reason it’s so common is that unlike using a bottle, you can’t measure the exact amount coming from the breast, which leaves you with that nagging question. Here are some tips that can help reassure you that your baby is in fact getting an appropriate amount of milk.
1.) Your baby is gaining weight. Babies are expected to be back at birth weight between 10-14 days. After that, an average weight gain of 1 oz per day or 5-7 oz per week is appropriate until 4 months of age. From 4-6 months, you can expect an average weight gain of 4-5 oz per week. And from 6-12 months, an average of 2-4 oz per week is within normal.
2.) Your baby is peeing. Although “normal” can be a wide range. An easy way to quickly assess your baby’s situation is to remember that your baby’s age should match the number of wet diapers that day. So, on day 1, expect 1 wet diaper. Day 2, 2 wet diapers. Day 3, 3 wet diapers, and so on until day 6/7. After that, you can expect a minimum of 5 wet diapers per day. Urine should be light and odorless.
3.) Your baby is pooping. The first few days you can expect to see meconium, or your baby’s “first stool”. It’s dark and almost looks like tar. Day 3-6, you should expect around 3 mustard-colored stools. After the first week, anywhere from 3-5 stools per day is expected, or even after every feeding. At the 6 week mark, the digestive tract changes and so will her frequency. 1-3 times per day might be the benchmark, but some breastfed babies do go longer.
4.) Your baby is feeding 6-8 times per day. And breastfeeding feels comfortable after the first 15/20 seconds, your nipples look about the same after a feed as they did before, and your breasts feel soft to the touch after the baby has finished.
5.) Skin Turgor. Your baby’s skin is firm and bounces back if you gently pinch it. Her skin color is normal.
6.) You saw a lactation consultant. Still not convinced? Reassure yourself by making an appointment with a lactation consultant. She can weigh your baby before and after a feed and give you the exact amount transferred.
Other signs that baby is most likely getting plenty of milk:
- He finishes eating and is satisfied.
- A good indication (but not always accurate) of milk transfer is audible and visible swallowing. Listen close and watch carefully at your baby’s temples to see gentle in and out motions when drinking.
- And last but not least, see your doctor if you have serious concerns about your baby’s growth.