Hello there, momma! If you are new to breastfeeding, you are probably like most mommas and have had a point where you wondered “is my baby getting enough milk”? We, as moms, are always concerned about our little ones. Are they eating enough? Are they getting the right nutrients? Are they going to the bathroom enough? The questions are endless.
I want to tackle this topic during my “how to breastfeeding” week – is your baby getting enough milk.
If you are breastfeeding, it’s hard to tell how much your little one is eating unless you pump & bottle-feed. Newborns have small stomach – not much bigger than the size of an almond. Because of this, they eat smaller amounts more frequently. Babies need to feed about every few hours. Typically, for newer/younger babies, they’ll eat 8-12 times in a day. Yes, this is normal!
For the first few days, you can expect your newborn to eat about 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce during each feeding. Again, if you are breastfeeding (without pumping) it is hard to tell how much they are getting. To help reassure yourself that your little one is getting enough, try following these guidelines..
Is your Baby Getting Enough Milk?
You can be assured that your little one is getting enough to eat when:
- he/she feeds between 8 and 12 times during 24 hours
- you can tell he/she is sucking and swallowing
- he/she seems to be satisfied after eating
- there are enough wet/soiled diapers during the day, based on their age
- he/she regains her birth weight 10-14 days after birth
If you don’t know already, your baby is going to lose weight after they are born. No need to be concerned about this, this is normal. Your baby should be back up to their birth weight a few weeks after birth.
One more indication that your baby is getting enough & is satisfied after a feeding, is if you look at their hands. Typically, when your little one’s hands are in a fist, they are hungry. When looking after you are done feeding, your baby should look relaxed & have open fists.
From day 1, your baby’s stomach is about the size of an almond. By day 3, it will grow to about the size of a ping pong ball and by day 7 it will be about the size of a chicken egg. You’ll probably notice that your little one will be more interested in feeding as the days go by! The amount of breast milk that their stomach can hold will increase from about 1 teaspoon to 2 ounces during this time!
Wet & Soiled Diapers
I mentioned before that one indication that your baby is getting enough milk is the amount of wet diapers they have during the day. After the first week, your baby should have about 6 wet diapers a day. Most diapers will have a strip on the front (and back) of the diaper that turns from yellow to blue when wet. It makes it really simple to tell when your baby needs to be changed!
You’ll want to keep track of the amount of soiled diapers your baby has as well. You should expect your newborn to have their first soiled diaper only a few hours after birth. You’ll notice that the stool is very black and tarry looking. By the 3rd & 4th day, plan on your baby having at least 3 soiled diapers a day.
Again, if you plan on breastfeeding, the stool is going to change in color and consistency. During the first few days, your body is producing colostrum (which is VERY nutrient dense milk, you’ll notice the color is darker and the milk is thicker).
As a guideline, your baby’s stool should follow a similar pattern to this:
- 1-2 days after birth: your baby will pass mecomium (their first stool)
- 2-4 days after birth: the stool will become less sticky, lighter in color & a little more liquid
- 3-5 days after birth: the stools will become more green/yellow in color and look more seedy
- 5+ days after birth: stools will look yellow/mustard color, be seedy & liquidy
Breastfeeding your baby has SO many benefits to both you and your baby! (To read more about the benefits to your baby, check out my post here & for the benefits for you, momma, read my post here). Another benefit though, is that colostrum & mature breast milk help prevent constipation because they cause lose stools that your baby can pass easily.
So when changing your breastfeed baby, it is normal for them to have runny, seedy, yellowish stools.
Again, I briefly mentioned this one before, but your baby is going to lose a small amount of weight after they are born. This is normal! Between 10 and 14 days, your baby should be back up to their birth weight, if not sooner. After that, you can shoot for your baby to gain 4 to 8 ounces a week.
Every 2 to 3 hours, your baby should wake to feed. If they don’t, you should wake them up. Especially in the first few days, your baby may not be as interested in nursing but that should increase in the following days! You may even get to a point where you don’t think they want to stop nursing! Your baby grows fast so their appetite is going to increase.
You may find that during the day your little one feeds 1 to 3 hours while at night it may be every 3 to 4 hours. Remember, these are guidelines. Every baby is going to be different. That is exactly what these first few weeks are for, mother/baby bonding time. This is the perfect time for you to bond with your baby and get to know them better!
Overall, I would say you probably don’t need to be concerned about your baby getting enough to eat as long as they are gaining weight and seem satisfied after feedings. Again, we as moms tend to worry a lot! Rightly so, we care about our babies! But for the most part, it’s not necessary! If you are still concerned that your baby isn’t getting enough milk, talk with their pediatrician or a lactation consultant!
If you have any comments or questions, leave them in the comments section below!
All the best,