Do I have enough milk for my newborn?

Like every newly minted parent, you are probably worried about your milk supply and being able to provide enough milk for your newborn. While bottles are see-through, our breasts/chests aren’t. So we can’t always tell how much milk – if at all – our babies are ingesting.

Relax, mom and dad! Here are some easy ways to tell if your baby is getting the amount he needs:

  • Your baby’s weight is steadily increasing: 5-7 oz a week and about 1 inch long a month
  • Your baby is providing the adequate amount of poopy diapers every day: One poopy diaper for every day of life up to day 5. That means one poopy diaper on day one, and  five diapers by day five – and an average of five a day after that
  • Your baby seems satisfied and falls asleep AFTER a feeding or at the breast/chest
  • Your baby’s body and especially his HANDS are relaxed and open after a feeding
  • Your breasts/chest do NOT feel hard or painful! This is engorgement, and is a sign of poor milk transfer. Your breasts/chest should be soft. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean they’re not making milk! That means they are making milk and it’s transferring to the baby efficiently
  • Your baby looks to feed every 2-3 hours, or seems to feed ravenously in the evening, called cluster feedings – yes, this is normal!
  • Feedings are around 20 to 30 minutes. Some babies are efficient feeders and eat in 10-15 minutes, but on average, feedings take anywhere up to a half hour. If your baby takes an hour or more, this is a red flag your baby is having difficulty.

And that’s it!

If you are concerned your baby is not getting enough milk if you are experiencing painful engorgement, or your baby is not producing adequate poopy diapers, alert your pediatrician and talk to an IBCLC right away. Feel free to hand express milk and provide it to the baby in a bottle, spoon, or from an open cup (check out how to do that in this video!) while you wait to see your provider. If you can’t express enough to satisfy your baby, feel free to mix whatever breast/chestmilk you have with formula.

In the end, a fed baby is a healthy baby.

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