How do I know if my baby is getting enough breastmilk?

It is easier to know how much milk the baby has had when you are bottle feeding right? The baby bottles come with a set of calibrations to measure how much the baby drank. But sadly our breasts do not come with any calibrations on the sides. It would have been easier if they had though. Crazy thought right!! But there are always times when new moms do not know whether her baby is drinking enough breastmilk. Is the baby’s little tummy full? So how do I know if my baby is getting enough breastmilk? Are there any signs? 

How do I know if my baby is getting enough breastmilk?

Yes, Luckily there are a severals signs which can help us understand whether the baby is getting enough breastmilk. Of course it take a lot of work like digging into dirty nappies, checking out your boobs, counting number of nappies and so on.

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Signs that reassure you that your baby is getting enough breastmilk:

Dig into the poop

In the first 3 days the baby’s poop will be dark green or almost black in color. This s because of the meconium deposited in their body throughout the pregnancy. But by day 3 the baby’s stool starts becoming light in color. A normal breastfed baby’s stool will be seedy, mustardy & sometimes foamy looking. This continues until the baby is breastfed.

In the beginning few weeks of the baby’s life he or she will poop almost 4 to 5 times a day.  So a baby getting enough breastmilk will poop between 4 to 5 times a day (sometimes after every long feed).  Later in life the frequency of poop reduces. If the baby is pooping less than 3 time a day in the first few weeks, baby may not be getting enough breastmilk. Contact the pediatrician to see if the baby has any other health issues. 

Full nappies

In India generally we tend to put cloth nappies (specially stitched by the grandmas with lots of love) on the newborn babies. The well fed baby i.e. a baby getting enough breastmilk should pee around 8 – 10 times a day. If you are using reusable diapers, four or five full nappies might indicate that baby is drinking enough fluids. You needing to change the dirty nappies frequently is a good sign.  Read more about “Nappy change”.

How do I know if my baby is drinking enough breastmilk? Instagram Image

Healthy Baby Is Getting Enough Breastmilk

A newborn baby looses 7% of his body week in the first two weeks. But the baby starts failing out soon after that. Gaining weight and looks healthy means your baby is drinking enough breastmilk. Babies who are healthy will generally tend to be awake and alert for most of the breastfeeding time. A baby not gaining weight can sometime be because of some other reason. 

Colorless Urine

A baby who is not getting enough breastmilk will have yellow urine. Sometimes before the breastmilk comes in urine can be pinkish or reddish, but this is not normal once you start breastfeeding properly. Contact pediatrician if it continues. A baby who is drinking enough breastmilk will have colorless urine. Yes in the beginning few days you have to go through poops, urines and many more things. 

“Gulp, gulp and gulp!!”

If you pay attention to your baby while nursing, you will notice all the gulping, swallowing and pretty little sucking sounds they make. A mother tends to focus on only her little one in the beginning few days when she start breastfeeding. Some babies can be quiet while feeding, but you can always see the jaw movements and neck muscles being used while swallowing. If in case you can feel that baby is only nibbling on the nipple, not opening the mouth large open before he latched on, it means baby is probably not drinking enough breastmilk. You need to latch the baby properly onto your nipple. If the baby has been gulping from the beginning and slows down towards the end of the session, it means his tummy is full. 

Happy Baby

If your baby has had enough breastmilk, he will be content and happy and ready to settle for a nap. However if he is cranky, upset, crying or sucking on his finger or fist, trying to suck onto next available thing, it means your baby is still hungry. However not all crying means the baby is hungry. Your baby may cry if he needs to be burped (gas can be uncomfortable to babies), if he needs to poop, or if he is ready for a nap or craves your attention. Another scenario for the baby crying can be because of colic.

So you need to judge based on the baby’s signs and body language. One thing you need to be looking out for is “Crying of the baby”. A newborn baby needs to cry(it’s a healthy sign), it means he or she is thriving. If the baby does not cry at all you need to check up with the pediatrician immediately. 

Read more about how much babies cry and is it a problem if your baby does not cry.

Engorged Breasts means you are making enough breastmilk for your baby

If your baby is drinking enough breastmilk and feeding frequently, you might feel engorgement in your breasts early in the morning or after a long gap between feeding. This engorgement means your baby is drinking the breast milk and emptying your breast at every feed,  hence your body is making more. However if some of you do not feel the engorgement( I am one of this too!!), it does not mean that your baby is not getting enough breastmilk, in such cases you need to look for other signs provided here. 

Feeling light after every feed

If your breasts will feel light after every feed, that means your baby is doing a good job of emptying your breasts. Consequently they are drinking enough breastmilk to keep their tummy’s full. 

Notice a sensation of let down and or milk leakage 

Women are magical creatures I believe cause if you have noticed once you have a baby, anytime the baby cries you will feel a tingling sensation(or star pins and needles kind of sensation) in your breast. This is nothing but “Let down sensation”. It means your body is preparing for your baby’s feed. Magical right??

For every woman this sensation is different. Whereas some women experience milk leakage in the breast when it’s about time to feed the baby. This means your body is producing and your baby is getting enough breastmilk. However if a woman does not experience any let down and the baby is not thriving it is a red flag. You need to see a doctor. 

Period Free Months!! 

If you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby you might not get your periods for 3 months. However if you get your periods within a month or few months it might be because you are not making enough breastmilk. 

Problem with milk supply happens in rare cases (medical issues or highly stressed moms ) and is highly uncommon. All the moms have a natural instinct when it comes to the baby. Trust your instincts. You need not supplement your baby with Formula until you are very sure you do not produce enough breastmilk for the baby.

But incase you feel that it is not enough you can try to boost your breastmilk supply by eating healthy foods and relaxing. And if you feel or doubt about your health conditions affecting your breastmilk supply meet you doctor and ask them your queries.

Read “Top 15 foods that can help you boost your breastmilk supply”

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