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How Do I Know If My Baby Is Getting Enough?

One of the most common questions that arises when I am helping a mom with breastfeeding is “how do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?”

This question is totally understandable for any mom, considering that breasts don’t come with volume measurements written on them. So what do I tell them? Well, I reassure them that there are actually several ways to tell, and that looking to their baby for the answers is the best place to start.

I show moms how to tell if their baby is sucking or drinking at the breast. Dr. Jack Newman’s video is great for showing this. A baby who has had enough milk will in most cases be content after a feeding. He will not be sucking his fists, rooting or headbutting mom’s chest. He may still want to be held close and carried instead of being put down in a bassinet or bouncy seat.

The next tell-tale sign is the baby’s diaper output. If he is more than 5 days old, is he having at least 6 wet diapers and several soft, loose bowel movements in 24 hours?

Finally, is he gaining weight? A newborn baby commonly gains about 20-35 grams/day and regains back to birth weight (or close to it) by about two weeks. For weights to be considered a helpful tool, the baby must be weighed completely naked each time, on a digital, calibrated scale, and ideally, on the same scale for consecutive weight to be comparable.

Moms have great instincts, which are not to be underestimated. I always tell them to keep that in mind too.

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