How to Tell Your Baby is Getting Enough Breast Milk
Breastfeeding your baby, especially in the beginning, can be fraught with anxiety and uncertainty because when baby is nursing directly, you can’t measure how much breast milk baby is actually drinking like you can with formula or pumped milk. A mother’s biggest concern is often, is my baby getting enough breast milk? Here are some things to keep in mind.
Is your baby regularly producing heavy, wet diapers with light-colored urine? After baby’s first week, you can expect 6+ diapers in a 24 hour period. Other signs of good hydration are healthy coloring and baby acting alert when awake. Some signs of dehydration would be dark urine and infrequent wet diapers.
Baby should be feeding 8-12 times in a 24 hour period and on demand. This number may be even higher during a growth spurt, so be sure to follow baby’s lead.
Meeting Milestones -
Do you and your pediatrician feel comfortable with baby’s developmental progress? Of course, every baby will reach different milestones at different times, but if you are seeing delays that concern you, be sure to reach out to your pediatrician.
Unclenches fist -
Often at the beginning of the feed, baby’s hand will be clenched up in a fist, and as baby gets full, she relaxes and her fist will unclench.
Baby’s Mood after a Feed -
At the end of a satisfying feed, baby will seem satisfied, content, and will often fall asleep. Babies will often unlatch or fall off breast on their own when they are full.
Breasts are Emptied -
After a successful feed, your breasts will feel less full and softer to the touch than before the feed. The emptied breast may be visibly smaller than the breast you haven't nursed on yet.
Swallowing Sounds -
During the feed, you should be able to hear or see signs of baby swallowing and taking big gulps, especially during your let down. Baby may also make very adorable sucking, gurgling, heavy breathing sounds while doing this--the cutest!
Your instinct -
Never ignore your own gut feeling. If you feel like something is off (a change in baby’s coloring, behavior, diaper output, development, etc), trust yourself and go see your pediatrician. If you feel like baby is not getting enough milk, be sure to also check in with a lactation consultant near you. They can help determine if the baby is latching properly and emptying the breast during feeding.
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