One of the most common questions that most new breastfeeding mums find themselves asking is: how they’ll know if their newborn is getting enough breast milk. And this is well justified given that mothers can’t exactly see the milk that their body is producing. As such, it’s difficult to know how much your baby is drinking.
However, most women, if not all, always produce enough milk to breastfeed their babies. In fact, it’s estimated that only about 5 to 15 percent of nursing mothers do experience low supply of milk. Whether you’re producing enough milk or not, it’s important that you are 100 percent that your little one is getting enough milk.
In this article, we’ll tell you some of the signs to look for to know whether your baby is getting enough milk or not.
How to Know if Your Baby is Getting Enough Milk
As mentioned, while most women are always able to produce enough milk for their babies, it’s a whole different dynamic trying to understand whether your baby gets enough milk when being nursed. Below are some signs that you any nursing mum can look out for:
Is your baby swallowing?
When your little one first latches properly onto your breast, he will suck your nipples rapidly. This will help release milk from your breast. He will then progress to a slow and deep pulling motion as he continues to suck. You will be able to feel this rise and fall as well as hear and see as his jaw plop down. In case your baby isn’t getting enough milk, you will notice that he will be sucking rapidly but won’t be swallowing rhythmically or slowly. Also, he may keep falling asleep at your breast repeatedly or take some long pauses while breastfeeding.
Is your baby satisfied?
A baby that is satisfied will appear well fed and content after each feeding session. However, if your baby doesn’t get enough milk, he or she will appear lethargic or will be constantly crying for food. Because babies can’t talk, they won’t tell you if they are full or not. The best way to know if they are satisfied is by the length of each feed. If your baby has several feeding sessions with each feed lasting for more than an hour and still wants to feed frequently, especially if the last feed was less than an hour ago, then there might be a problem.
Does your baby fill his diapers?
One reliable indicator of whether your baby is getting enough milk is by taking note of the diaper output. Most breastfed babies soil up to three diapers a day and wet between six to ten diapers in a day the first month after birth. Besides the diaper output, the stool color is very important. Your baby’s first stool should be sticky and black. By the third and fourth day, the stool’s color should be green and then yellow by the fourth or fifth day. The stool’s consistency also needs to be watery or seedy.
Is your baby gaining weight?
The first few days and weeks after birth, it’s very normal for your little one’s weight to vary. By the third or fourth day, it’s very normal to have your newborn lose anything between five to seven percent of their weight. However, if he or she loses up to10 percent or more of their birth weight, it could be an indicator that there is a problem. By the 10th day, your baby should be back to his or her birth weight.
Number of feeds
Babies should have anything between eight to 12 feeding sessions in a day, especially the first few weeks after birth. Besides the number of feeds, he or she should come off your breast easily when he is done feeding. Your baby should look content and settled between feeds. Breastfeeding should also be comfortable and free of any pain, and so should letdown when your little one is done. If your breasts feel less full after a feed and are a softer, that’s another sure sign that your baby is full.
Knowing if Your Baby Isn’t Getting Enough Milk
Just as there are signs to watch out for to know if your baby is getting enough milk, there are also signs that can help you know if your little one isn’t getting enough milk. One sure sign that your baby isn’t getting enough milk is if they continue losing weight. If your newborn doesn’t start to gradually gain weight five days after birth, or he continues to lose, you will need to talk to your baby’s doctor.
As mentioned, newborns need to wet anything between six to ten diapers in a day. Should you notice that their diaper output is less than six diapers in a day, it may be important to consult with your baby’s doctor. The color of your baby’s urine should be clear or pale if he is getting enough breastmilk. If the urine color is dark and his stool appears to be small and dark, it should be an indication that he or she isn’t getting enough fluids.
Another sign to look out for is if your baby falls asleep as soon as he latches onto your breast and starts crying or getting fussy when you remove him. Also, watch out for constant fussiness and lethargy. Swallowing when nursing is also important. Look out for dry eyes and mouth, as well as failure of your breasts to feel softer after a feeding session.
While most mums are able to produce enough milk, sometimes babies may not get enough and may end up suffering from dehydration. If you feel that your infant isn’t getting sufficient milk, it may be time to call his or her doctor or visit a lactation consultant or nurse. A lactation consultant will have you feed your little one as he or she observes and share some valuable tips that can help make your breastfeeding journey a success.