How To Know If Your Baby Is Getting Enough Milk

Is Your Baby Nursing Effectively?

Mother Breastfeeding Newborn Baby
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The most common concern of breastfeeding mothers is that they're not quite sure if everything is going well. It's not surprising to hear a new mother say, "The baby is feeding every three hours, peeing and pooping 8 times a day, and gaining weight, but I'm still not sure how much milk I'm making or how much she's taking."

Unlike a mom who bottle feeds her baby, a breastfeeding mother can't tell how much milk she produces by measuring.

The key factors in how well the baby is doing, however, are:

  • Feeding at least every three hours
  • Urinating frequently (at least 6 to 8 times a day)
  • Having sufficient bowel movements (at least 4 to 6 a day)
  • Gaining weight (By the age of 2 weeks, the baby should have regained its birth weight; an infant can drop up to 10% upon discharge from the hospital.)

Are there other ways to tell how well the baby is feeding?

As mentioned before, the main assessment of how well your baby is doing is by his growth by weight exclusively at the breast. In addition, you should have a lactation consultant evaluate a few components to make sure you're on the right track:

It is not recommended that a mother pump to "test" how much milk she is producing.

Breast pumps are inaccurate gauges of how much milk a mother makes. Babies who nurse get much more milk than the pump shows.

Will a physical examination of the baby able tell any information about how the baby is feeding?

A physical exam can tell a lot about how effectively your baby is nursing! A pediatrician will do an overall check for tone and level of alertness in the baby.

His head should be examined for malformed characteristics and to make sure that his front and back fontanelles, or soft spots, are not bulging or sunken. The baby's nose will also be checked to ensure that it is not blocked and the mouth will be inspected for any clefts. Also examined will be the baby's reflexes, which include rooting and sucking.