Worrying if Your Baby is Getting Enough Milk

on May 12, 2014 in Breastfeeding, Worrying if Your Baby is Getting Enough Milk

Many mothers worry about whether their infants are getting enough milk. In fact, the number one reason that mothers abandon breastfeeding is the belief that their baby is not getting enough to eat.

Some mothers may speak with their Pediatrician’s office by phone, ask questions of other mothers on websites, or even begin offering their babies infant formula. These worries can start when their babies seem unsatisfied after nursings, want to nurse very often, nurse for long periods, or are sleepy at the breast.   Some mothers become concerned if their milk has not come in around 74 hours post partum or if their breasts become soft and their babies seem unhappy. Some babies may unhappily pull on and off the breast, again causing doubt as to whether or not the baby is getting enough to eat.

Having wet diapers is not a good way to know that the baby is getting enough milk. Having a beating heart and functioning kidneys, means the baby will make urine, not necessarily that the baby is getting enough milk. And babies who are having daily stools does not necessarily mean that the baby is taking in abundant milk.

Breastfeeding is different in so many ways from bottle-feeding. With a bottle, you can see how many ounces a baby drinks. While that is not possible with breastfeeding, there is one best way to know whether or not a breastfed baby is getting plenty of milk; have the baby weighed!

The young baby should not have lost 10% or more of his birth weight and he should begin gaining an ounce a day starting by the fifth day of life. You can always call your Pediatrician’s office to schedule a weight check. Another great way to learn more about how much milk your baby is getting by having a consultation with a Lactation Consultant. If you don’t know how to find a Lactation Consultant, you can find one by asking your Pediatrician’s office staff or visiting ILCA.org on-line and scrolling down on the home page to enter your location. A visit with a Lactation Consultant should be covered if you have insurance. If you are a WIC client, you may be able to get breastfeeding help there.

You may also want to read my blog “Weight Gain in the Newborn and Young Infant” for further information about reasons for and what to do if your baby is not gaining weight as expected.

The scale doesn’t lie! If your baby is gaining normally, he is taking enough milk. If your baby is not gaining an ounce a day in the early days and weeks, he needs more milk. And should that be the case, chances are that you can take measures to turn things around.