How can I know my baby is getting enough milk?

Reliable signs your baby is getting enough milk - Transcript

A very common concern if you’re a breastfeeding mother is knowing whether your baby is getting enough milk. And many women would love to be able to measure that milk at every feed and really know where they are up to with breastfeeding but of course that isn’t possible.

The good news is however, that there are some really good reliable signs that will boost your confidence and help you to know that your baby is actually getting enough milk.

In this video I’d like to talk to you about three of those signs.

Weight Gain – The first reliable sign your baby is getting enough milk

The first reliable sign I’d like to talk about is weight gain. Now you would expect your baby to lose a little bit of weight in the first few days, but then to start regaining very, very quickly, maybe 4 to 7 ounces per week, now that can be anywhere between 110 to 200 grams per week if you deal grams or kilograms. And you would also expect your baby to regain the birth weight generally by 10-14 days although some of your babies may take a little bit of extra time, but it’s always good to keep a good idea of what’s happening with the weight because that is a reliable sign of milk intake.

If your baby isn’t gaining weight in that way, please have a look at the videos regarding boosting supply and positioning as well because sometimes it’s purely because your baby isn’t positioned well, therefore not draining the breast as it could be, therefore not getting all the milk as it could be. Sometimes a minor difference in the positioning can make the difference, so have a look at those videos and the videos on boosting supply will also give you lots of hints and tips that you can try too, as well as seek enough skilled help from a professional.

Be rest assured that your baby’s weight will be plotted on a graph scale by your health professional and so that will give you a good gauge on how your baby is doing weight wise. And also that there will be flexibility in regards to following on the centile line. Sometimes babies will drop a little bit and go up a little bit but generally you’d expect your baby to follow proportionally.
And please be assured that the rate of weight gain is going to change overtime; there will be a lowering of the actual rate after 3 months. So your baby won’t gain as much weight per week. And this will be true as the year goes on; less and less amount per week. But as long as your baby is following that centile generally, that’s okay.

Wet nappies – the second reliable sign your baby is getting enough milk

The second really good reliable sign that can boost your confidence is to look at how many nappies, wet nappies your baby is producing. So after the birth you would expect one wet nappy on the first day, two on the second, three on the third, but by the fourth day we’re looking at five or six as a regular amount than per 24 hours.

Now that is if your baby is wearing disposable nappies. If your baby is in cloth nappies, you would expect a minimum of six to eight wet nappies in 24 hours. And if you want to gauge what a heavy wet nappy is, you could waste a nappy by adding three tablespoons of water on that nappy. That will give you a good gauge of what a heavy wet nappy feels like, and that would, you would expect your baby to produce that amount of nappies as a minimum as the weeks go by.

Dirty nappies – The third reliable sign your baby is getting enough milk

The third reliable sign that I want to talk about is how much poo your baby actually does. Now in the first week you would expect that black, sticky, meconium poo which very soon, over the first few days turns into a dark-brown colour, a dark green colour, and then we’re looking at by the 4th or 5th day you would expect your baby to produce yellow, korma coloured, mustardy poos and this is a normal, breastfed baby’s poo that you should expect. So you might wonder how much poo your baby would be expected to do and really by the 4th of 5th day after the birth onwards expect if you were to scoop up all of that poo in 24 hours, I know you probably wouldn’t do that, you would expect at least 2 to 4 amounts of two pound coin size, equivalent of that. And that would be a good gauge of milk intake. Now it might every now and again, even your baby may go a couple of days without pooing, but you would expect the days’ worth in that nappy. But generally most babies are pooing every day, and producing a minimum of the 2 to 4 two pound coin size amounts.

And it’s also important to know that the pattern of pooing changes round about the 4th or 5th week, maybe 6 weeks. Just when you think you know what you’re up to with the pooing pattern, your baby can suddenly go for a few days without actually doing a dirty nappy. So many women can get very upset and worried about that which is understandable. And I’ve known ladies to rush off to the GP or the accident and emergency at the local hospital because they’re thinking that there’s something going wrong with the baby, something serious or they think the baby is constipated, but it’s quite normal for breastfed babies to suddenly change this pooing pattern. And you would expect your baby to do copious amounts of poo when he does go.

And I would just like to encourage you to look at the other videos in this section which talk about some less reliable signs actually, things that can cause you to lose confidence in breastfeeding, losing confidence in your milk supply. Have a good look at those things so that you can boost your knowledge and your confidence in this area.

Review dates, references & further resources

Review Dates

V1 published June 2017. Next review date: April 2020

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