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Is my baby getting enough breast milk?
This is a common question for many new moms. Here are a few ways to tell if your baby is drinking enough breast milk.
Breast Milk Production Cycle
Pregnancy – During pregnancy, your body begins to prepare for breastfeeding soon after you become pregnant. And once you reach your third trimester your breasts will begin to make colostrum. Colostrum is the “pre-milk” that your breasts express directly after giving birth.
After Birth – Once you actually give birth and start to breastfeed, your breasts will express the colostrum that your body has been working on throughout your pregnancy. Colostrum is perfectly made with antibacterial and immunities that are from the mother’s body to help protect a newborn baby. It is often called liquid gold because it can appear gold or yellow in color.
3 – 4 Days Postpartum – Once you have been breastfeeding for a few days, your breasts will begin to feel firmer due to the colostrum changing into the thicker breast milk for your baby. Breast Milk usually comes in around days 3 to 4 of your breastfeeding journey. And once you have your breast milk supply established, breastfeeding can be a very relaxing experience between mom and baby.
*This page may contain affiliate links, however, I will never recommend anything that I do not believe in and use myself. You can read more about my disclosure policy here. Here are a few facts about breastfeeding that you may not know. I am not a doctor or a medical professional but these are my experiences as a breastfeeding mom.
How Do I Know My Baby is Getting Enough Breast Milk?
They always say that breastfeeding is a completely “natural” process, but it certainly does not always come naturally for us mamas. In fact, one common reason that new moms give up on breastfeeding so fast is that they are not sure if their baby is really getting enough breast milk.
Of course, any mom would be worried about their baby eating enough. It’s completely normal for a new mom to wonder if her baby is getting enough breast milk since you cannot really see how much breast milk is going into your baby while breastfeeding.
And even though you cannot really see the amount of breast milk that your breastfeeding baby drinks like you can with a bottle-fed baby, there are a few ways that you can tell if your breastfed baby is getting enough breast milk.
1. Weight Gain
Weight gain is pretty much the most accurate way that pediatricians and parents can tell that their baby is truly getting enough breast milk.
And although newborn babies lose a little weight in the first week of life, they usually gain it back quickly within by two weeks old. After that breastfed babies typically gain between 5-8 oz or more per week.
So if your breastfed baby is steadily gaining weight you have one great sign that your baby is getting enough breast milk.
2. Plenty of Wet Diapers
How many wet diapers are you changing each day?
When a pediatrician first asked me that, I wanted to say like 100. Haha.
Because it really did feel like that since we were so exhausted. And once I realized the reasoning behind tracking wet diapers, I was so happy to start counting to make sure my baby was wetting out enough.
Most breastfed babies will wet between 6-8 diapers each day. This is completely normal and healthy since their bladder is very small.
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3. Watch and Listen for Swallowing During Breastfeeding
When I first started breastfeeding this was one huge relief for me that I was doing everything just right. You may not realize it until you really listen but you can hear your baby swallowing while breastfeeding. And you can even see the gulping in their throat.
It sounds really crazy but if you can listen and look for the swallowing and gulp you know that your breastfed baby just took in a whole mouthful of breast milk.
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4. Is Your Baby Satisfied After Nursing?
Newborn babies will usually fall asleep after they are full and satisfied. Once this happens you can rest assured that your baby is eating enough.
But if you are still concerned there is another way to test your baby to see if he/she is full.
Try running your finger across their cheek and see if they have a “rooting reflex.” The rooting reflex is where your baby will turn their head and open their mouth towards anything that touches his/her cheek or face looking for your breast.
If your baby doesn’t react he/she is probably full and satisfied.
5. Do Your Breasts Feel Softer and Less Full After Nursing?
One thing that all veteran breastfeeding moms know is that if your baby is not getting enough breast milk than your breasts will be full and engorged. Once you breastfeed your baby your breasts should go from hard and firm to soft and much less full if not empty.
Your baby should be getting enough breast milk from you to make your breasts more comfortable after every feeding.
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Signs Your Baby Is Not Getting Enough Breast Milk?
- Your Baby Isn’t Gaining Weight
- Your Baby is Wetting Less Than 6 Diapers
- Nursing Sessions are very short
- Your breasts Are Severely Engorged
- Your Baby is Unsatisfied after feedings
- If Your Milk Hasn’t Come In
- Latching is Extremely Painful
- 6 Reliable Tips for Breastfeeding in Public Without Fear
- 12 Fun Ways for New Dads to Help and Be Involved with a Breastfed Baby
What Do I Do If My Baby Is Not Getting Enough Breast Milk?
1. See A Lactation Consultant or Take A Breastfeeding Class like MILKOLOGY.
By seeing a lactation consultant you can address some issues you may be experiencing such as a painful latch, baby hunger cues, and more.
I always recommend the Milkology Breastfeeding Class which is taught exclusively by Stacey Stewart. She is a Certified Lactation Educator and a mom of 3. Stacey also has an extensive history of helping moms learn to breastfeed their babies from the start.
And by learning the ins-and-outs of breastfeeding by a certified lactation educator like Stacey, you’ll know that everything you learn is vital to breastfeeding your baby from the comfort of your home.
2. Try Using A Breast Pump To Increase Your Milk Supply
Some moms just need a little boost to help their breast milk to increase and to be enough for their baby’s needs.
- How to Establish and Maintain a Good Breast Milk Supply for Your Newborn Baby
- 10 Exceptional Ways to Increase Your Breast Milk Supply for Breastfeeding Success
- 7 Reasons Why I FAILED at Breastfeeding My First Baby
- The Best Breast Pumps for Every Breastfeeding Mom’s Lifestyle