How Can I Tell If My Breastfed Baby Is Getting Enough?


newborn breastfeeding

It is very important to follow the “early & often” rule in breastfeeding. Put the baby to the breast for every feed. It is recommended to do skin-to-skin in between feedings. New babies find much comfort in being on Moms chest. It really helps with breastfeeding as the hormones trigger Oxytocin. (The hormone that helps with bonding and milk production) For best results, it is NOT recommended to supplement, offer pacifiers or bottles until after breast milk supply is well established.(6-8 weeks) These will disrupt the hunger cues. Remember, breast milk digests very quickly because its is so pure. It is normal and healthy for the breastfed baby to eat often. Do NOT watch the clock or feed every 3-4 hours. If your baby seems hungry- nurse! Remember, “when in doubt, whip it out!”

*If you are experiencing any pain (cracked nipples, bleeding, blisters etc) while breastfeeding, Please get to a Lactation Consultant right away or call your local La Leche League Leader for a free home visit. Do not self diagnose. Do not “wait for it to go away”. 

For The First Week:

  • The first 24 hours: Expect one black sticky poopy diaper (meconium)
  • Day 2 of life: at least 2 brown and sticky poopy diapers
  • Day 3 of life: at least 3 greenish poopy diapers
  • Day 4 of life: at least 3 green to yellow poopy diapers
  • Day 5-30 of life: at least 3 yellow, seedy poopy diapers
  • Day 1 to 2+years: Your baby should have multiple soggy diapers per day (more than 5 in a 24 hr period)

Once your Milk Comes In:

  • Your baby should begin to gain weight and pass birth weight at least 10-14 days (It is normal for the exclusively breastfed baby to lose weight after birth, they account for this weight loss by ‘beefing up’ right before delivery)
  • Your baby should continue to gain weight (about an ounce a day for the first months of life)
  • During feeds, your baby’s eyes are open and looks interested for the first part of the feed.
  • Your baby should have slow, steady sucks for a part of every feeding , beginning soon after the feeding starts (Remember to look for milk collecting in the corners of your baby’s mouth and a “keh” sound. That is the sound of them swallowing- If they are swallowing, they ARE getting food)
  • Your baby is content for at least a few minutes after nursing and can almost always be consoled by nursing again
  • Your baby has calm and alert times in between feedings
  • Your baby should be visibly ‘filling out’ (not loose or saggy skin) is growing in length and head circumference

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Tips for an Awesome Supply:

  • Breasted right away “early & often
  • Try to deliver baby all natural. No drugs, no IV fluids, No interventions at all
  • Ensure that baby be put to the breast immediately after delivery and stayed on me for 2-3 hours.
  • Drink a lot of water all day and eat very healthy (a lot of foods that help with lactation)
  • Breastfeed on demand all day and night
  • Use a high quality breast pump. I perfer a Medela double electric breast pump
  • Do not leave the  baby.. Stay close
  • I do recommend to pump at night, if your baby is sleeping all night. This may keep your supply from dipping and getting overactive let down in the morning.
  • Do a lot of skin to skin, especially after her bath at night.
  •  If we are out and about, I baby wear and I breast-feed my baby in the Tula or Ring sling.
  • At times, I will take extra pills of fenugreek and eat certain foods to up my supply if I have a donor baby in immediate need. Do not take anything to increase supply in the first 6-8 weeks. (Unless advised by a IBCLC to do so) Let your baby talk to your body and tell your body what to make and how much. Nursing often is paramount!)
  • I highly recommend the books, Mother Food and Making More Milk– both are on half.com or on the La Leche League website.
  • Do not use formula
  • No bottles or pacifiers.
  • Every feeding is at the breast.
  • Watch for diapers, not the clock. If she’s having soggy diapers and frequent poops- supply is just fine.
  • If you pump, do NOT gauge your supply by what you pump out. Babies are far more efficient than a pump at removing milk from the breast. Pumping shows how much we can pump NOT how much we make. Our bodies know the difference between a machine and a baby.

Having Breastfeeding Issues: 

  1. Find a Lactation Consultant at your nearest hospital or Birthing Center (Ask to be seen, have your baby examined for a lip or tongue tie, have them check your baby’s latch and do a weigh, feed weigh)
  2. Find your local La Leche League Leader and inquire about a FREE home visit (www.LLLI.org)
  3. Look for drop in clinics at your local WIC Office: They have Breastfeeding Peer Counselors available to help Moms
  4. Call your Midwife or OB for a Lactation Consultant recommendation (Please be aware that pediatricians and OBs are NOT trained Lactation Consultants.)
  5. Do NOT self diagnose! If you need help, seek help. Many breastfeeding issues are fixable and a long breastfeeding relationship can follow. Do not give up. You can do this!! Do not doubt your body. We were made for this!
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