As if breastfeeding weren’t hard enough, if you’re not pumping there’s no way to tell how much your baby is actually eating. So how do you know she’s getting enough? This was the same question I asked myself as I breastfed my daughter (my first breastfed child). There are clues that us moms can look at get the answer, but if you’re still not sure, I have a solution that will ease the concern.
~This is a sponsored post on behalf of EatSmart and The Hopping Bloggers. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~
I feel saddened when I see stories in the media where an infant has died because the mom wasn’t producing enough breast milk. It brings up the question, just as I have wondered myself, when exclusively breastfeeding how do you know your baby is getting enough milk? Without going too far into the topic because it’s not the focus of this post, but many moms are pushed to breastfeed because “breast is best.” But if a mother isn’t producing enough milk to feed her child and the child just isn’t benefiting from it, then “fed is best,” even if that means switching to formula.
For those mom’s who choose, or plan, to exclusively breastfeed (I did this with my second child and plan to do the same with my next), you may think the only way to know your baby is getting enough food is by weighing in at the doctor’s office. This is certainly one way of knowing, but when you have a newborn the last thing you want to do is go to the doctor multiple times a week for a weight in. So here are some things you can look for at home to ensure your baby is eating enough.
Know What to Expect
It is typical for newborns to lose some of their birth weight in the first week. For breastfed babies, a 7-10% weight loss is normal during that time, and it can take 2-3 weeks for the baby to put that weight back on. So don’t be surprised if your newborn sheds a little weight in the first week.
Feeding Pattern and Satisfaction
One thing to look for is your baby’s feeding pattern. When first latching on, your baby will suck in a rapid manner, which helps release the milk. Once the flow is started the baby will start a more slow, pulling pattern and then swallow. If you don’t notice the slower pulling motion and then swallowing, but more of the rapid sucking, it may mean baby isn’t getting enough milk.
Another thing to look for in the feeding pattern is how often your baby wants to feed, and if he seems full and satisfied after. This can be a little difficult for some because some babies want to feed ALL the time, whether they’re getting enough milk or not. Once in a routine, most babies feed 8-12 times per day.
Personal experience: During the first week of breastfeeding my daughter, she wanted to feed all the time and for long periods of time at that. She never seemed fully satisfied. In addition to breastfeeding, I was supplementing with formula because I was concerned she wasn’t getting enough milk from me, but that too seemed to be an issue. After talking with the pediatrician, she determined my daughter was tongue-tied and sent us to a specialist. My daughter ended up getting her tongue clipped. The little piece of skin under her tongue (not getting all medical terminology here) was holding her tongue too tightly and she wasn’t able to stick her tongue out enough to get a good latch and sucking motion. So in this case, it wasn’t that my milk supply was low, but was actually a simple fix.
Another thing to look for is how many soiled or dirty diapers your baby has each day. After a few days of being in a routine, babies should have 6+ pee diapers and 4+ poop diapers. These are figures I’ve been given by my kids’ pediatrician, but I don’t think my kids ever had 4+ poop diapers per day. As long as they were going regularly, I didn’t worry and the pediatrician didn’t seem to either. So as long as your baby is soiling diapers regularly, I wouldn’t be concerned.
Is your baby continually outgrowing his clothes? If so, he’s gaining weight and is getting enough milk. My kids didn’t last in newborn sizes for very long. In fact, the newborn outfit my daughter wore home from the hospital was the only time she wore it. And ever since then both of my kids have been wearing clothing that’s larger than suggested. For example, within the first month I’m pretty sure my kids were already wearing size 3 months and it just continued from there.
The most obvious sign that your breastfed baby is getting enough milk is from verifiable weight gain. Sometimes these other signs are difficult to assess, but actual weight gain on the scale is unquestionable. But like I said earlier, when you have a newborn, the last thing you want is to be at the doctor’s office every few days for a weigh in. So why not measure and monitor this at home?
You can with the EatSmart Precision Baby & Pet Check Scale.
- Track baby’s growth between doctor’s visits (from newborn to toddler).
- Measures in pounds or kilograms.
- Measures in 0.5 ounce increments, up to 44 pounds (20 kg).
- Easy to clean platform.
- Deduct the weight of a toy, diaper, or blanket with the Tare function.
- Save and track weight with the Memory function.
I even have the chance for one of you to win an EatSmart Precision Baby Check Scale, so you can track your breastfed baby’s weight gain at home. It doesn’t get more definitive than numbers on the scale! Enter using the giveaway form below.
One lucky winner will receive an EatSmart Precision Baby & Pet Check Scale!
This giveaway is open to US Residents, ages 18+ and ends on March 15, 2018 at 11:59 pm est. Random winner will be notified via email and must respond within 24 hours or prize will be forfeited. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment.