How Do I Know if My Baby is Getting Enough Milk?

It’s so difficult to see what they’re drinking I hear you cry! Most mums at some stage will question if their baby is actually getting any milk out of the breasts!

So here are a few tips to let you know your baby is well fed...

Weight Gain

This is an obvious one of course but it is important to keep a close eye on this in the first few weeks and months. A weight check will normally be done when your baby is 72 hours old and then again a couple of days later. Most babies will have lost weight on the first weigh-in at 72 hours of age, this is very normal.

Most babies lose 5-7% from their birth weight and a smaller number of babies lose 8-10%. This seems like a huge amount to us but is quite normal for a newborn. If your baby has lost more than 8% the midwives will check your breastfeeding techniques with you and may even suggest expressing some milk and giving it as an extra top-up feed to baby until the next weigh in on day 5.

From day 5 onwards babies should gain around 150g per week and weight checks will usually be weekly in that first month. Thereafter the maternal child health nurse will advise you how often to weight your baby.

Is Baby Settling Well?

All babies take some time to settle but if your baby is always awake and looking for food it’s a good sign they probably need more. In the first month babies don’t do a lot of interaction and the time they are “playing” is short. They mostly wake for feeds and then are straight back asleep.

If you have a very alert and upset baby it’s a good idea to have your feeding checked and baby weighed with your maternal child health nurse or lactation consultant.

Meeting Milestones

Is baby growing and meeting milestones, like smiling, rolling over at the age-appropriate stage? Your maternal child health nurse is the best person to give you advice about the development stages to expect in babies.

Poo and Wee!

This is probably the most immediate sign to tell if your baby is having enough milk on a daily basis. You’ve heard of parents getting “goo goo” over what’s in their baby’s nappy, well it’s now your turn!

If you are seeing good output every day then you can feel rest assured that baby is having good input!

Wet nappies to expect:

Day 1 At least one wet nappy
Day 2 At least two wet nappies
Day 3 At least three wet nappies
Day 4 At least four wet nappies getting heavier
Day 5 and beyond Five or more heavy wet nappies every 24 hours

Poos to expect:

Day 1 Meconium -greeny black, sticky, tar like One or more
Day 2 Meconium – dark greeny brown getting less sticky Two or more
Day 3 Transitional- greeny brown to browny yellow no longer sticky Two or more
Day 4 and beyond until 4-6 weeks Breastmilk poos – yellow and seedy (imagine English mustard with a little wholegrain mixed in!) Loose and watery in consistency. As long as the poo is present on the nappy this is normal and not diarrhoea Two or more
From 4-6 weeks onwards Breastmilk poos until solid foods are introduced from around 6 months A normal pattern will emerge from this stage. It may mean daily poos or only pooing every 2-3 days or longer.

If you have any concerns about you baby’s intake of milk always go and see your maternal child health nurse or GP to help listen to your concerns and give you the best advice.

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