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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During a woman’s pregnancy, her blood volume increases by 50 percent.
That is why it is extremely vital that a woman gets enough iron in her diet, and has herself checked for anemia, to ensure enough oxygen is getting to baby and mom’s muscles, brain, etc.
These foods are some of the richest in iron.
But some things to keep in mind is that:
A) Caffeine can reduce a woman’s ability to absorb iron. If possible, and drink less or avoid caffeinated beverages such as teas and coffees.
B) Calcium rich foods or supplements can also inhibit iron absorption. Try to consume calcium supplements and iron rich foods at opposite ends of the day.
C) Iron supplements can be hard on the body and result in constipation. While getting from diet alone is recommended, sometimes supplementation is needed. If you can, look for supplements that also include a lot of plant-based items. The fiber can greatly reduce those constipating symptoms.
D) The body more readily absorbs iron that is from animal-based food items, but nature has given us everything we need in order to absorb plant-based (“non-heme”) iron, as well. If we are eating vegetables, we are most likely eating fruits and veggies containing Vitamin C. Vitamin C naturally increases a body’s ability to absorb more iron. Be sure you consume both within a meal to give your body a boost in iron.
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Here is a recipe I whipped up recently. Because I never make anything small, this makes a lot…but easy enough to freeze some for later meals!
Butternut Squash Spaghetti
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 jar (25-oz) spaghetti sauce
1 can (13.5 oz) light coconut milk
Cook together on medium heat covered until squash is cooked.
2 small yellow onions, diced
4 or 5 cloves of garlic, minced
Sprinkle of turmeric and black pepper
Fry three ingredients together in a separate pan in a small quarter sized amount of olive oil on medium to low heat for about 20 minutes. You may add lemon juice to lubricate.
When squash is ready, mash together until even (I used a potato masher).
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
5 mushrooms, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
Add onion and garlic along with these three ingredients to sauce and mix, then take off stove and cover. Let residual heat cook the veggies in the sauce while making noodles (about 15 to 20 mins).
Although spicy foods are not recommended for the first trimester (it can aggravate nausea and morning sickness), I added a tablespoon of red pepper flakes for a nice sweet and hot taste. Feel free to add nutritional yeast (like I did), and a few leaves of spinach for color.
Mix with noodles, add fresh cilantro and enjoy.