Is My Baby Getting Enough Milk?

Posted on: March 6, 2018 | Infant Care

 

Breastmilk supply is a common concern for breastfeeding parents.

Tip: If you give birth in the hospital, ask your nurse or lactation consultant for education and support EVERY TIME you and your baby breastfeed. This is a great opportunity for hands-on support. When you go home, you cannot take your nurse with you!

(You can, however, hire a postpartum doula. . . )

“Is my baby getting enough milk?”

Does the parent notice the baby swallowing? If the baby is sucking and pausing to audibly gulp/swallow milk, that is a reassuring indicator that baby is indeed transferring milk.

Here’s a video to demonstrate the “pause”.

How do I know if I am making enough breastmilk?

Another way to determine whether baby is getting enough milk is to track the baby’s diapers. Here’s a diaper tracking app: Sprout Baby Tracker.

A normal, reassuring schedule for diapers is:

  • 1 wet diaper on day 1

  • 2 wet diapers on day 2

  • 3 wet diapers on day 3

  • 4 wet diapers on day 4

  • and so on until baby is about a week old.

Babies older than 7 days old should be wetting a diaper between 8 and 12 times a day.

Stool in diapers will follow the same pattern up to 4 day old, and watching to make sure the meconium has mostly passed and has changed consistency in the diaper from black and tarry to yellow, greenish or light brown and soft.

How much weight should a baby gain?

Babies are expected to gain within the average range of ½ ounce to 2 ounces per day. For the first 5 days, some weight loss is expected. If weight loss exceeds 10% of the baby’s birth weight, the baby is at risk for underfeeding.

My baby is always hungry. I can’t keep up!

Babies are hungry little people. It seems that they always need something in their mouth. Newborns are absolutely expected to spend a lot of time at the breast.

It doesn’t usually mean they aren’t getting enough milk–it means they are letting the mother’s body know to amp up milk production for a future growth spurt. If the baby is gaining weight and has adequate stool/urination production, it is counter productive to supplement the baby with a bottle of formula. A bottle of formula satiates a newborn and prohibits the stimulation of the breast, which may lead to decreased milk production.

My baby is using me as a pacifier!

Babies are not mentally mature enough to manipulate you. Your baby is sucking appropriately in a manner called “non nutritive sucking.” The contact of mouth on breast is beneficial for baby’s jaw development and for immune system messages to cross between the infant and the mother. If the mother is dissatisfied with this situation, she can introduce a pacifier such as the highly recommended “Soothie”  to her baby.

Should I pump to measure my milk?

Typically, a breast pump will not achieve the same amount of milk production as a baby’s mouth: a healthy baby’s mouth is significantly more efficient. Snuggling with the baby and enjoying the bonding and comforting moments will stimulate oxytocin, which leads to many “let downs” where with a pump, muscles and air pressure squeeze milk out of the milk ducts, and sometimes “letdown” will occur, but sometimes it won’t.

A pump doesn’t offer the same level of connection, so while it’s reassuring to see a great deal of milk in a bottle, lack of pumped milk doesn’t necessarily indicate a breastfeeding or production problem. 

Should I weigh my baby before and after feeding?

Some lactation consultants will weigh a naked baby before feeding, and again just after breast feeding to get a baseline of what the baby consumed. However, according to the National Institute of Health, “test weighing” is imprecise and unreliable.

Who can help with breastmilk concerns?

Find a supportive and trustworthy care provider. Your Postpartum & Infant Care Doula should be able to help you gauge what is normal and what’s beyond the scope of normal. For concerns and issues that are significant, find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

How do I know my baby is getting enough milk?

Watch your baby for consistently wet/soiled diapers, meeting normal developmental milestones, steady weight gain, and a satisfied countenance for good indicators that the mother is producing enough milk and baby is able to transfer that milk appropriately.

If you feel stressed and worried about your baby’s milk intake or your own breastmilk production, contact The Sunshine Baby Company, LLC! We have Postpartum & Infant Care Doulas ready to support you with education, guidance and comfort as you navigate the challenges of helping your infant to thrive. 

Authored by: Staci Plonsky