How Do You Know if Baby is Eating Enough?
How do you know baby is eating enough?
With all new babies, this is usually the number one question. With a bottle you can visually see how much your baby is eating but if it comes from the breast, how do you know? Unless you are going to weigh your baby before and after every feed (not recommended or you could drive yourself crazy!) we will never have an exact amount. However- there are signs to look for to see if baby is eating enough:
After a feed does baby seem satisfied?
Baby has just finished eating at the breast and has fallen asleep- this is usually a good sign baby is full! If baby’s arms were originally very tight and flexed but now have relaxed and gone limp, you can feel comfortable knowing baby ate enough. If baby is off the breast and is still rooting, crying or unhappy, odds are he may still be hungry. This is a good time to switch breasts and have baby eat from the other side.
Is baby having a lot of wet and dirty diapers?
Unlike formula, breastmilk is very quickly digested and baby will soon have a bowel movement or pee. A good indication of how much breastmilk baby is getting is by counting the amount of diapers throughout the day. You can do this on pen and paper, in the notes section of your phone or on any of the tracker apps for your phone. In the beginning of life we typically want to see the number of each diaper matching the age of baby in days, i.e. 1 pee and 1 poop on day 1 of life, 2 pees and 2 poops on day 2 of life, 3 pees and 3 poops on day 3 of life, etc. If your baby is above this number you are also doing great! No need to worry baby is eating too much, this is just the minimum we want to see to ensure baby is eating enough.
Do you breasts feel emptied after a feeding?
Take note of what your breasts feel and look like before a feed. Once baby is done eating check and see if there has been a change in your breasts. Do they look smaller? Sometimes this is hard to tell but some people can see the difference. Do they feel softer? You want to feel your breasts before and after to make sure baby was having milk transfer. If baby is emptying your breasts they should feel softer than the beginning of the feed and not as full.
Are you having pain while baby eats at the breast?
Breastfeeding can certainly be uncomfortable at first but it should never be painful! Proper latches ensure adequate milk transfer. If a latch is ever painful please unlatch the baby and try again! A proper latch means a nice deep latch- try to get as much areola in baby’s mouth as possible. Also try to watch baby and see if both their top and bottom lips are going outward instead of inward. Look at baby’s jaw, it should be moving in an up and down motion. Occasionally in-between sucking you will hear baby swallow. These are all signs of a good latch and that baby is successfully getting milk!
Please keep in mind that every baby and every woman are different! Try not to compare yourselves or your baby to those around you. You are doing a great job, keep up the great work!