One of the most common concerns I hear from moms is, "I don't know if I have enough milk." There are a few easy ways to know, so that you don't have to guess if your exclusively breastfed infant is getting enough to eat.
First of all, if you are feeding your baby on demand (not scheduling feeds, but feeding whenever he is hungry), and your baby is eating 8 times (or more) per day, that is a good sign.
Secondly, by the time your baby is 5 days old, if he is having at least 5 wet diapers a day and at least 1 yellow poopie diaper per day, this indicates adequate milk intake.
A third sign that your baby is getting enough is that breastfeeding is comfortable to you and your breasts are not hurting. This is a sign that your baby has a good, effective latch.
It is important that you can hear your baby swallowing when he is feeding. Your baby should be visibly more relaxed at the breast after he feeds than he was before the meal.
The most obvious way to monitor if your baby is getting enough is to check his weight. Obviously this is only helpful on days that your baby gets a weight check, and is not helpful on a day to day basis. Make sure you keep your baby's appointments with his doctor so that any possible problems can be identified early.
If you are experiencing all of these things, that is a very good sign that breast-feeding is going well and that your baby is getting enough milk:
These are NOT signs that you aren't making enough milk for your baby:
These are signs that your baby might not be getting enough:
If you have any concerns, call your baby's doctor or an IBCLC right away.
Greensboro Lactation Consultants can perform a "weighed feeding", meaning your baby will be weighed before and after a feeding. This will help us determine how much milk your baby is taking. I can be reached by phone here and by email here. In-home consultations are available usually within 24 hours of your request, so if you're worried about it, don't wait!
You have heard that breastfeeding is good for your baby. You may have heard that breastfeeding is good for mom's health as well, and that breastfeeding helps new moms bond with their baby. However, if you are reading this, then you have either heard some scary things about breastfeeding, or you are experiencing difficulty, and you are seeking answers or help.
Breastfeeding is the normal way for human moms to feed human babies. Breastfeeding is natural. Just like walking.
Walking is normal and natural. However, few people learn to walk on their first try, and very few learn without someone helping them.
It is normal to get help with breastfeeding, even though it is natural to breastfeed.
In many cultures, breastfeeding is so normal that new moms have been exposed to breastfeeding, literally, their entire lives, and they are surrounded by experienced moms as soon as their baby is born. In our culture, more often than not, a mom's first experience with breastfeeding is the moment she tries to breastfeed her own infant for the first time. Moms are trying to master a brand new skill that they have rarely, if ever, even seen done well. Experienced moms have challenges as well, as every baby is different. If you've done this before, but this time is just different, that's normal too.
I am here to help answer your questions and to help you have a breastfeeding experience that is healthy and fulfilling for you and your baby. I will customize a plan for you, based on your goals, and provide coaching and counseling to meet your individual needs. I am available for in-home consultations, usually within 24 hours of your request. Call or email me, help is on the way!
Beth Sanders, BSN, RN, IBCLC