Most mums will be nodding their heads knowingly at this one, as a fear that your breastfeeding baby isn’t getting enough milk is a very common anxiety for new mums. After all, you want to make sure that your baby’s getting all the nourishment she needs from you breast milk and, well, as you can’t actually see how much she’s swallowing, it can feel as though you’re flying blind. However, there are a few fool-proof ways to tell if your baby is breastfeeding well and I asked Dru Campbell, midwife and lactation consultant at Health Bay Polyclinic in Dubai, to talk me through them. Here’s what she had to say…
How to tell if your breastfeeding baby is getting enough milk: Weight gain
Babies tend to lose up to 10 per cent of their birth weight in the first week or so. After that they should be putting on around 150g a week. By regularly visiting a baby clinic once a week for the first month, you’ll be able to monitor baby’s weight. If weight gain is a concern, your midwife may ask you to return more frequently, in order to see how things are progressing.
How to tell if your breastfeeding baby is getting enough milk: Regular wet nappies
A sign of good hydration is if your baby is having six heavy wet nappies in twenty four hours. However, it is important to note that in the first 24 hours, babies usually pass urine just once. Then, in the next 24 hours it will be twice and by 72 hours of age, baby should be passing between three and four wet nappies. By five days of age it should be up to six wet nappies a day.
Planning to breastfeed? You might need the following…
How to tell if your breastfeeding baby is getting enough milk: Stools changing colour
For the first few days after baby is born, she will pass meconium, which is a thick black substance that looks a little like tar. Meconium is a substance that protects the baby’s gut and digestive system whilst in the womb. Then, after birth, the colostrum, which is the first milk, works as a form of laxative to flush the meconium out. At this point the stools begin to change colour – first to greeny-brown and then to a mustard yellow.
How to tell if your breastfeeding baby is getting enough milk: Soft breasts
It is very common to feel that your breasts are full prior to feeds in the first few weeks. However, don’t be surprised if after a few months your breasts are soft all of the time. Many women are concerned that their milk supply has dried up, but this is usually not the case. All it means is that your body is regulating the milk exactly for what your baby needs.
How to tell if your breastfeeding baby is getting enough milk: Feeding every three hours
The first few weeks after a baby is born, they tend to sleep a lot, but sleeping well isn’t always an indication that baby is well fed. In fact, baby may sometimes sleep because she is not getting enough calories. For that reason, until baby has regained her birth weight it is important to ensure that she is fed on demand and that she does not go more than three hours without a feed. It can seem lovely for a baby to sleep, however it is not normal for them not to feed frequently in the first few weeks of life. That said, if after the first few weeks they are putting on weight, having plenty of wet nappies and not searching for the breast, it usually means they are full.
For more information and advice on lactation support, email Dru Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org