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Is my baby getting enough breastmilk?

Is my baby getting enough breastmilk?

Have you ever wondered “is my baby getting enough breastmilk?” –  many mamas do! How great would it be if our breasts had measurements on them? Seriously though, it’s no wonder why so many breastfeeding mamas worry whether their baby is having enough milk.

Firstly, I want to reassure you that if you’re exclusively breastfeeding without issue, then Bub is likely getting enough. Your breasts are so incredible, Mama! They’re so in-tune with your baby’s growth and developmental needs that they will not only make enough milk at the right time, but also the right type of breastmilk to meet those needs.

I can totally understand you wanting reassurance though – especially in those early days. The good news is, that although our babies don’t come into this world talking, they can communicate with us in other ways – we just have to watch, listen and learn.

Signs your baby is getting enough milk

When Mamas ask “is my baby getting enough breastmilk?” there are a number of things we look at  when assessing whether they are. Let’s explore some of these in more detail:

Weight Gain

Adequate feeds = adequate weight gains. It generally is that simple! Your little one should gain on average around 150g a week. I want to stress the “on average” part of that sentence because some weeks may be more or less.

Now in the first 72 hours, it’s very normal for your baby to lose up to 10% of their birth weight before they start gaining weight when your milk comes in. This will be closely monitored by your midwife/doctor and if needed, you can connect with a Lactation Consultant to assess how baby is feeding.

Sleep and active periods

When we are assessing baby’s behaviour to decide whether they’re likely getting enough milk, we’re looking to see whether they are generally happy and content after a feed (it is normal for them to be fussy at times – especially during the witching hour- so please don’t worry if your baby isn’t 100% happy all of the time – they are a baby after all!). They will likely pull off the breast themselves, or even fall asleep at the breast. Their body language will also seem more relaxed, and they will stop displaying hunger cues.

In terms of sleep, your little should be able to settle well without constantly looking for their next feed. We also want to make sure our baby is waking regularly for feeds (around 2-4 hourly is expected). If they are low in energy and sleeping too much, it might be a sign they are not getting enough milk.

Growth and development

One of the biggest signs your baby is getting enough milk is meeting growth and developmental milestones. This means that they’re smiling, cooing, crawling, sitting etc in line with what is expected for their age.

Output – wet and dirty nappies

What goes in… must come out! If you’re wondering ‘is my baby getting enough breastmilk?’ this is the obvious ways to tell.

If your baby is feeding well, then you’ll be seeing plenty of wet and dirty nappies. What is expected varies as your little one grows. In the first day, you may only see one wee and one poop. This will increase to 5-6 wet nappies a day once milk comes in. Over the first few days, your baby’s poop will transition from black, tarry meconium to more of a mustard/seedy type of poop. You’ll likely see quite a lot of poop in these early days (several per day). But, once you get into more of a routine and your milk is fully established, then it’s normal for a breastfed baby to go up to seven days without a poop. Please chat to your Dr if you are ever concerned.

Other things to look out for:

  • Hearing gulps or swallows during a feed (baby can’t swallow nothing!)
  • Seeing milk when you burp baby partway through a feed
  • Nursing 8-12 times in a 24 hour period

Signs baby isn’t getting enough breast milk

  • Baby seems low in energy and is particularly sleepy. Isn’t feeding at least 2-4 hourly.
  • Feeding duration – too long might be because they aren’t getting enough, too short may be because they are becoming exhausted and realising they aren’t getting anything.
  • Breastfeeding is causing you pain – sometimes when baby isn’t latched well, it can cause nipple damage which can be really uncomfortable.
  • Baby isn’t gaining enough weight – they should have returned to their birth weight by around 2 weeks.
  • Baby isn’t having enough wet or dirty nappies.
  • Your baby still seems hungry after being fed.
  • Baby is struggling to settle and continuing to search for feeds.
  • Baby seems unsettled and is displaying hunger cues even after a feed.
  • Not meeting their milestones.
  • You notice their urine is dark yellow.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s really important to have a chat with your provider/your baby’s to check that baby is OK. If there are concerns about your supply, or how baby is feeding at the breast, then it’s important to connect with a Lactation Consultant as well as they are able to assess the situation and provide you with techniques or recommendations to help you and bub have a successful breastfeeding journey together.

Want to find out more about the signs baby is getting enough breastmilk, make sure you check out my Instagram post here!

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It’s important to note this blog is general education only. For any personal based advice regarding you or your baby please seek advice from your own healthcare professional.

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  5. Mannel, R., Martens, P. J., & Walker, M. (2013). Core curriculum for lactation consultant practice.
  6. Monfredini, C., Cavallin, F., Villani, P., Paterlini, G., Allais, B., & Trevisanuto, D. (2021). Meconium Aspiration Syndrome: A narrative review. Children (Basel)8(3), 230.