Most parents wonder at some point in their breastfeeding journey if they have enough milk for their baby. We often doubt ourselves, overanalyze, or find inaccurate information somewhere along the way.
If you find yourself doubting your milk supply, look at your baby.
Here are some signs that your baby is getting enough:
How old your baby is will help determine how much weight your baby should be gaining. It is normal for babies to initially lose some weight (up to 10%), but that weight should be regained by week 2 of life. After mom’s milk comes in, the average breastfed baby gains 6 ounces/week (170 g/week). You will be taking your baby to their healthcare provider during the first week of life to check on weight gain, feeding, and jaundice.
You do not need to purchase a scale to check your baby’s weight. Schedule regular checkups at your child’s pediatrician where they will weigh your baby and look at trends over time. Weighing at home can be stress-inducing, as it is not always accurate, and can be misleading.
Wet and Dirty Diapers
What goes in, must come out! Tracking wet and dirty diapers will help you know your baby is getting enough milk. On day one of life she should have one wet and one dirty diaper, day two is two of each, day three is three, four is four, five is five, and by day six and on she should be having 6 or so of wet and dirty diapers.
Forget the Clock
Do not watch the clock, watch your baby! Ten or twenty minutes on each side is not how a baby is meant to be nursed. Instead, watch your baby- is he taking big sucks and swallows? You should see his jaw moving up and down with a pause every few sucks for a swallow. The swallow will be audible when your milk comes in. When his suck starts to become more shallow, with smaller sucks, do breast compression. To do this, hold your breast at the base and squeeze and hold for a few seconds. This will give your baby a surge of milk and encourage bigger sucks and swallows. Repeat breast compression in a clockwise motion, so you squeeze all ducts. Once you are done this and baby has slowed, take her off, burp her, and always offer the second side. He may or may not take it and that is okay.
Satisfied Between Feeds
This is true to some degree. However, it is part of the big picture. Is she taking big sucks and swallows, peeing and pooping, and gaining? Check? Is she also settled after feeds? Most of the time is an appropriate answer. Feeding is almost always the remedy for a fussy baby. Crying? Put her to the breast and see what happens. Often it works. But sometimes babies just cry. It could be overstimulation or she could be overtired. Newborns are only awake for around 45-60 minutes before they need to sleep again. This includes feeding time. If your baby has been awake longer than this and won’t settle despite a feed, try to settle her to sleep. It is likely what she needs.
If you are concerned about your infant’s growth reach out to their healthcare provider, and your closest Mama Coach for a feeding assessment and consultation.