The most common question I get when I support new breastfeeding parents is ‘How do I know my baby is getting enough?’. This is especially true if the family was using bottles previously, as bottle feeding involves very measured quantities. With breastfeeding, the baby is more in control of what they take and tend not to overfeed, however, it can be difficult for parents to know and trust that their baby is getting enough milk.
There are several ways to recognize that your baby is getting sufficient milk from breastfeeding.
These include the following:
· Your breasts feel softened or less full after baby feeds
· Your baby is waking on their own for feeds, at least 8 times in a 24-hour period
· Your baby is having multiple dirty and wet diaper in a 24-hour period (please note: every baby is different) and/or your newborns stool has fully changed from black to yellow by day 5-6 postpartum
· You can see active sucking at the breast, and you can hear and/or see baby swallowing
· You feel uterine cramping while you breastfeed and/or feel your letdowns
Another way to know that your baby’s feeding is going well is to weigh them. Your perinatal health care provider will be weighing your baby often during the first couple of days postpartum. This is to make sure that the baby’s weight loss is not concerning and that they are slowly beginning to gain again. A drop in weight, after birth, is normal and is expected.
It is once parents bring their babies home that the concerns about getting enough milk begin to surface. By going through the above list and keeping in touch with your health care provider with all questions and concerns that may arise, you will hopefully feel more reassured.
And remember, a lactation consultant can assist you with infant feeding from newborn to weaning, so please don’t wait it out. Reach out to an IBCLC with your questions or concerns when they arise so that you can enjoy the journey with calm and confidence.
For more answers to your breastfeeding questions and other tips and tricks, Melanie Jacobson ND IBCLC is available for individual and group appointments. You can also do a 15 minute free discovery call to find out how Melanie can best support you.