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New moms have thousands of things to worry about regarding their newborn and one of those concerns is around their baby’s nutrition: is my baby getting enough breast milk? How often should I breastfeed? Of course, it would be wonderful to know exactly how much breast milk your baby is getting while feeding. In most cases, it’s impossible to know the exact amount which can cause anxiety around breastfeeding especially the first few days.
How often should I breastfeed a newborn baby?
A breastfed newborn baby usually will begin feeding on demand until your milk supply is fully established. Therefore, the number of times your baby feeds may vary. If your baby is displaying hungry cues they should be feed. However, if your newborn baby has not fed in 3-4 hours, you want to encourage them to feed so they do not become dehydrated. That should help answer the question “how often should I breastfeed?”.
How do you know your baby is getting enough? This question usually causes a lot of anxiety among nursing moms as mentioned above. It even caused me a lot of anxiety even though I had a lot of breastfeeding knowledge before having my daughter.
There are a lot of factors that could influence your milk supply such as certain medical conditions that affect milk production or physical characteristics of your breast that might make it harder for baby to feed such as inverted nipples. Here are 5 ways to tell if your baby is getting enough breast milk.
How to tell if your baby is getting enough milk:
1. Weight gain: Your baby has gained weight.
If your baby is not feeding well, your baby will not gain weight. It is normal for your newborn baby to lose weight during the first couple of days after their birth. In a week or so, your baby’s weight should return back to their birth weight and they should begin to gain weight rapidly. That is why it is so important to follow up with your healthcare provider to make sure your baby is gaining weight and not losing weight.
If you notice that your baby is not gaining weight. Please call your doctor, maternity support worker or breastfeeding consultant and arrange to be seen.
2. Making plenty of wet diapers
If your baby is feeding well your baby will produce many wet diapers. Your baby may produce as many as 6 good wet diapers in 24 hours when your breast milk is well established. To see if your baby is getting enough breast milk you will want to pay attention to the number of wet diapers your changing and the color of your baby’s urine. If your baby’s urine is dark and foul-smelling. Seek medical attention as your baby may be dehydrated. A great way to tell how wet my daughter’s diapers were, was by using a wet indicator diaper. If she was really wet the yellow stripe on the diaper would turn to blue.
3. Baby seems satisfied after feeding
If your baby is not feeding well or getting enough breast milk he or she will be unsettled after feeds. Your baby should seem relaxed and satisfied after feeding and should not be fussy or irritable. If your baby seems unsatisfied after every feeding, seek medical advice from a health care provider or lactation consult.
4. Breasts feel softer and less full
After feeds your breasts should feel softer and less full. If your baby is not feeding well, your breasts will still feel full and hard immediately after breastfeeding. This is because your baby has not fed enough to drain your breasts.
5. You can feel and see the baby sucking continuous
If your baby is feeding well you will feel your baby sucking continuous and you will see them swallowing. You should not have any pain as that is an indicator that your baby has not latched well. Feeding your baby is generally quiet. If you hear a clicking noise while feeding, make sure your baby has latched properly.
Hope these tips were useful in helping you to settle your anxiety about whether your child is getting enough breast milk and how often you should breastfeed.
Until Next Time,
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Interested in more posts related to breastfeeding posts? Check out this one, Breastfeeding Essentials for Nursing Moms
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