The majority of new mothers want to breast feed but the biggest worry they have is how do the know if their baby is getting enough milk. There are several indications you can use to gauge whether your baby is a getting enough to eat to put your mind to rest.
Breast Feeding Basics For New Mothers
There are a number of good books about breast feeding available that you might like to read before baby comes. You can find these in any good book store or online.
The amount of milk a newborn needs varies between 570mls and 900mls per day. You can break this into how much baby needs at each feed by dividing that by the number of feeds he is having in a 24 hour period. For example if you are feeding your baby every 4 hours then he should be getting between 95mls to 150mls per feed.
When baby first starts feeding he will suck rapidly. This sucking action will stimulate the flow of your milk and you will be able to see him start swallowing steadily. Now you have a clear indication that your milk is flowing steadily and your baby is taking it in. He is filling up the tank.
Sometimes your baby will stop sucking and even go to sleep. I would suggest if baby goes to sleep that you burp him an then continue feeding him. You may need to burp him a few times during feeding. When you have finished feeding baby your breasts should feel softer and emptier.
Signs You Baby Is Getting Enough Milk
The best proof is right there in nappy.
As you know what goes in must come out. By the time he is 6 days old your baby should have between 6 to 8 wet cloth nappies per day. If you are using disposables he should have 5 very wet nappies per day.
By day four your baby should have 4 bowel movements per day. You will find the color of his feces will change. In the first couple of days they will be black and sticky. This would be a very good time to have him in disposable nappies. By around day three to four his stools should be green. Day five his stool should be watery or seedy and yellow. They should not be formed not formed. You will know what I mean by seedy when you see it.
Baby gaining weight:
It is perfectly normal for your brand new baby to lose weight in his first few days after birth. This weight loss is between 5% and 7% a by his third of fourth day. If you baby’s weight loss is 10% or more then you need to talk to your doctor. By the time baby is ten days old he should have regained his birth weight.
Other signs baby is getting enough milk:
- Baby is settling after feeding.
- His feeding times are either staying at the same time apart or getting a little longer.
- The length of his feeding times are between 10 to 20 minutes per breast or longer.
- He is healthy in appearance
- He is gaining weight and growing.
When baby is not getting enough milk
- Your baby is feeding for shorter periods more often
- Your baby is screaming for food more and more often
- He does not seem to be swallowing when feeding.
Urine and bowel output:
- Your baby’s stools are becoming hard and dry
- He is soiling less nappies
- He is wetting fewer nappies
- Your baby is not gaining weight
- He appears listless
- He is crying less
- He does not appear healthy
- His skin feels dry.
If baby is showing any of these signs you need to see a health care professional as soon as possible. They may tell you to put him onto formula immediately. They may suggest you try to increase your breast milk production and give you some instructions on how to do this. They may also suggest you keep breastfeeding and supplement it with formula while you are trying to increase your breast milk supply.
We all know breast is best but sometimes it just isn’t possible for some mums. The main thing to remember is your baby got his all important colostrum when he was born. He got all the carbohydrates, protein, and antibodies he needed to help keep him healthy.
There are many good baby formulas and you should ask your health care professional which is best for your baby.
I hope this article has given a few new mums some peace of mind and allowed them to relax and enjoy their new baby. If you have any comments or just want to tell me about your experience as a new mum I would love to hear from you. You can leave me a message below.