Birthing

Breastfeeding

Is Baby Getting Enough?

For most breastfeeding mothers, the No. 1 concern is whether they will be able to make enough milk for their baby.

It is normal for healthy, full-term newborns to lose up to 7 percent of their weight before beginning to gain. Nature has provided the baby with extra fluid to support life for the first few days. The first milk, called colostrum is all that is needed until the mature milk becomes more plentiful.

The baby that is effectively breastfeeding 8 to 12 times in 24 hours should need no nutrition other than mother’s milk. Giving the baby feedings of water or formula can delay milk production.

Even though mothers are not able to see the amount of milk that their baby receives while nursing, below are signs at different ages that will help determine if the baby is feeding well.

Newborns

  • The baby is breastfeeding at least 8 times in 24 hours.
  • You can hear a rhythmic pattern of suck/swallow while feeding for 10 minutes (by day 3 to 4 the swallowing should be much easier to hear).
  • The baby should look content after the feeding and not showing signs of hunger like crying or trying to put his or her hands into his or her mouth.
  • The mother's breasts feel softer after a feeding.
  • Expect age-appropriate wet diapers. One wet diaper on day one, two wet diapers on day two, etc., until day six. The baby should have six to seven wet diapers every 24 hours.
  • The baby should have yellow, seedy stools once mature milk comes in.
  • The baby should stop losing weight by the fourth or fifth day after birth and should be back to his or her birth weight by 2 weeks of age.

1 to 2 Months of Age

The baby should be feeding 7 to 10 times every 24 hours. Average intake: 2 to 5 ounces.

2 to 4 Months of Age

The baby should be feeding 6 to 9 times every 24 hours. Average intake: 4 to 6 ounces.

4 to 6 Months

The baby should be feeding 6 to 8 times every 24 hours. Average intake: 5 to 7 ounces.

Improving milk supply can be as easy as getting more rest, reducing stress or nursing the baby more often. If a mother determines that there is a delay in her milk production or if the milk supply is low, getting professional help as soon as possible can prevent early weaning.

If you are concerned about whether or not your baby is getting enough breast milk, download our breastfeeding worksheet.

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