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Is my baby getting enough breast milk?

Updated on April 25, 2014

Learning Baby's Hunger Cues

Babies don't come with instruction manuals and it is our job to learn how to care for our baby. There are lots of things to learn. Feeding your baby isn't always an easy tasks; especially, if your breastfeeding since you have no way of knowing exactly how much baby is eating. There are several things that you can use as an indicator to determine if your baby is getting enough to eat.

Cues: A baby will give you several cues that will let you know that he or she is hungry. Learning these cues will help you learn your baby's feeding schedule. When breastfeeding many mothers will feed their baby on demand; however, you still have to ensure that your feeding your baby every 2-4 hours.

Early cues:

  • Sucking on Fists
  • Smacking Lips
  • Rooting (Turning head towards shoulder)
  • Opens Mouth
  • Starts Fussing

Late Hungry Cues:

  • Heavy Crying
  • Sleeping too much due to lack of energy

Knowing these cues will help you and your baby ensure that they are getting enough to eat so that they can grow.

Six Ways to Help Determine if Your Baby is Getting Enough Nutrients

As you are feeding your baby, you may start to wonder if he or she is getting enough breast milk. So how can you determine if your baby is getting enough breast milk? There are several things that you can do or look for when you are feeding your baby.

  • Crying - If your baby is constantly pulling off your breast while eating or after you have finished feeding, you should determine if they have discomfort first. Try burping the baby to relieve any gas bubbles. Also, try giving your baby gas drops if it is okay with your pediatric doctor. Also, make sure that baby isn't crying from being overtired or over-stimulated.
  • Diapers - A baby should produce six to eight wet diapers during the day and 2 or more soiled diapers. If your baby isn't producing enough wet or dirty diapers, you should seek the advice of your physician to rule out potential dehydration or other issues.
  • Weighing baby before and after feeding - You can weigh your baby, using a baby scale, to determine how much he or she weighs. Then feed your baby. After your baby is finished eating then you would weigh baby again. Subtract the two weights and this will help you determine how many ounces that your baby is eating during a nursing session.
  • Weight gain issues - Babies go for several checkups during the first few month of their lives. This allows the doctor to monitor their growth. If your baby is having trouble gaining weight, your doctor might want to see you sooner for frequent weight checks. If this becomes an issue, often times doctors will want you to start supplementing formula. However, with your doctors approval, you might can try more frequent nursing sessions or ask to start supplementing with expressed breast milk instead.
  • Pump milk with a breast pump - If you want to know how much your baby is eating, then you can pump breast milk using a breast pump. Then make your baby a bottle. Take note how many ounces that the bottle is. Then feed your baby. Then subtract how much the baby ate compared to how many ounces you prepared for him or her. Remember, baby may eat more at a given time from a bottle because they don't have to work as hard. Don't have a breast pump? Get a comprehensive breast pump review before you make your breast pump purchase.
  • Supplement Nursing System - If your dr has informed you that you need to supplement formula to help your baby gain weight, this system allows your to continue feeding your baby breast milk. The system attaches to your breasts and it feeds formula through a tube that is attached to your breast. You have baby latch onto your breast and feed as normal. This will allow the baby to stimulate your breast so that you maintain your current supply. If you wish to increase your supply, a breast pump will help as well.

It is amazing how quickly a baby changes from the time they are born until they are a year old. Adequate nutrition is important whether your choose to breast feed or offer your baby formula.

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