Questions parents have: How do I know baby is getting enough milk?

Over the next few posts I will try and answers some common questions most parents, who come to the Breastfeeding Clinic, have ;-).

How do I know baby is getting enough milk?

The short answer: baby is gaining weight!

Weight gain is the “acid test” of how a baby is doing. If baby is gaining well on mom’s milk alone, then baby is getting enough. A 5-7% weight loss during the first 3 – 4 days after birth is considered normal.(1.) Once mom’s milk “comes in” (around 3 – 4 days after birth), baby stops losing weight and usually starts gaining again. Baby should regain birth weight by 10 days to 2 weeks. The average weight gain for baby is 170 g/week but 200 – 300 g/week is normal for the first 3 – 4 months. If these goals are not met, call an IBCLC®!

Breastmilk Pooh nappy

Another sign to tell you things are going well is baby’s dirty nappies. Dirty nappies are telling us that baby is getting in the calorie-rich “hind-milk” which pushes up the weight (and gives pooh nappies ;-). We would like to see 3 – 4+ dirty yellow / seedy / runny pooh nappies per day (after day 4). Stools/pooh should be yellow by day 5 (no meconium – that black sticky “tar”-like pooh of day 1 and 2), and about a credit card or larger in size and usually loose (soft to watery, maybe seedy or curdy).

Expect one wet nappy on day one, increasing to 5 – 6 by one week. To feel what a sufficiently wet nappy is like, pour 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of water into a clean nappy (if baby wets more often, then the amount of urine per nappy may be less). Urine should be pale and mild smelling.

Other signs baby is getting enough milk might be: mom’s breast feels softer and baby seems reasonably content after a feeding. Baby is alert, active and over a period of time, is meeting developmental milestones.



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