Is Baby Getting Enough Milk?
A common worry we hear from our breastfeeding mamas is wondering if their baby is getting enough milk. Since you are breastfeeding, you can’t actually see the output of milk. So, it’s natural to wonder if they really are getting enough milk.
Chances are you are producing enough milk for your baby. As breastfeeding is a supply and demand type process. After the first few days of colostrum, your milk will come in. About 8-12 feeding sessions or more within a 24 hour time period is a good amount of nursing sessions. You will want to keep an eye on two key indicators: Diaper Changes and Weight Gain.
Diaper changes are a great indicator of your baby’s milk intake. The first few days after birth, your newborn might have meconium stools, which are dark and thick and almost a tar like substance. Clear or a pale yellow color urine indicates they are well hydrated and receiving enough fluids.
- Day 2: baby should have 2 wet diapers over 24 hours
- Day 3-4: baby should have three or more wet diapers each 24 hours
- Day 5 and up: your newborn should start having six or more wet diapers a day.
- You will want a minimum of 3 wet diapers a day.
You will also want to track their bowel movements (stools) to ensure they are staying regular. Their stools should be a yellowish color and will then become more seedy by day five. Their stools will not be solid until they start eating more solid foods. Your baby should have one to three bowel movements within a 24 hour period (after four days of age).
Weight Gain is another expectation. Soon your baby will start to gain weight, but don’t be alarmed if in the first few days they lose some weight. Baby should regain their birth weight by 14 days old. According to La Leche League, gaining 5.5-8.5 ounces per week is normal. Weight loss of more than 10% is a concern, and you will want to contact your pediatrician and a lactation consultant. Remember that as long as your baby is growing within their own percentile and meeting their developmental milestones, it’s a good indicator that they are getting enough nutrition. Keep up with regular scheduled pediatrician visits to help track baby’s weight gain and milestones.
If your baby seems happy and content after a nursing session, and releasing from your breast on their own, this is also a good indicator that they are well fed. You can also look for signs of your baby gulping while you are nursing. Gulping shows they are getting large mouthfuls of milk during a letdown while nursing.
Signs Your Baby Might Not Be Getting Enough Milk
If you have a poor latch, your baby might not be getting enough milk. Knowing you have a poor latch is key. A poor latch will be painful, or their latch might appear shallow. Check with a lactation consultant if you are having a painful latch.
Another indicator of not getting enough milk is if your baby seems very sleepy or lethargic. Just like adults, babies who are not getting their nutritional needs met will have low energy. If your baby seems lethargic or is sleeping regularly for 4 or more hours at a time, call your pediatrician.
If your baby is taking too long (longer than 30-40 minutes per feed) or falling asleep shortly after beginning to feed, they also might not be getting enough milk. If your baby isn’t meeting their weight gains or the amounts of diapers in a 24 hour period, these are also indicators of not getting enough milk.
Keep in mind, breastfeeding is more than the quantity of milk. Yes, breast milk is delicious and nutritious, but breastfeeding is also a bonding time with your baby. You get to provide comfort, warmth and love all while also providing nutrition. Getting to know your baby and their signs of hunger as well as their signs of when they have enough to eat is important. If you are having concerns with providing for your baby, make sure to contact your healthcare provider or pediatrician.
Remember, you’ve got this, mama!
Did you find this information useful? Do you have any breastfeeding tips to share? Let us know in The Official Milky Mama Lactation Support Group. This is your place to get advice from our team of Milky Mama experts and seasoned breastfeeding moms. If you are needing more one-on-one help, book a call with one of our International Board Certified Lactation Consultants here.