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Helping new and expecting moms through the messiness of pregnancy, babies, and toddlerhood.

How to Tell If Your Baby Is Getting Enough Breast Milk

Breastfeeding is natural, but it’s also very hard and exhausting, and not knowing if your baby is getting enough breast milk can be stressful!

Having baby to breast on demand is the best way to increase your milk supply and keep up with baby’s growing needs. It can be so easy to give baby a bottle during those early weeks, especially when people that aren’t familiar with breastfeeding keep saying “just give that baby a bottle.” It is completely normal for newborns to nurse frequently and for long periods of time. They are working hard to bring in your milk supply.

It can seem like baby is constantly hungry some days, and since you can’t measure “a boob full,” how are you supposed to know if baby is getting enough milk? Here are some good indicators that your baby is getting enough milk.

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Plenty of Wet and Dirty Diapers

Counting wet and dirty diapers will be your number one tool in making sure that baby is getting enough breast milk. It is also extremely important for watching out for dehydration. Newborns should have as many wet and dirty diapers as their age in days, up until the third day. For example, baby should have two wets and two dirties on day 2 and three wets and three dirties on day 3. After day three, baby should be having 5-6+ wet diapers a day and 4+ dirty diapers a day. Some babies will even poop after every single feeding, and that’s normal too.

Meconium (that lovely black tarry, thick poop!) should be passed within the first 24 hours. By days three and four, baby’s poop should be greenish and looser, and by day five or six, it should be yellow, seedy, and loose. Because breastmilk is so easily absorbed by the body and not full of “waste”, it can be normal for exclusively breastfed babies to go days or even a few weeks with out pooping. However, I would err on the side of caution with this during the first few months. This typically starts to happen around 3-4 months. Be sure to consult your pediatrician or a lactation consultant if you have any concerns.

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Baby is Gaining Weight

It is completely normal for breastfed babies to lose around 7% of their body weight during the first few days of life. Around week two, he or she should be back up to their birth weight. During the first few months, breastfed babies normally gain 5-7 oz. per week. Check baby’s weight at week one and week two, and more often if there are any health concerns.

Your Breasts Feel Softer After Feedings

If your breasts feel full before feeding and softer after feedings, that’s a good sign that baby is getting some milk! Around 6-12 weeks, don’t be alarmed if your breasts suddenly seem softer, or even empty, in general (not associated with feedings);This does not indicate that you’re not making enough milk anymore! It just means that your milk supply has begun to regulate and your breasts have adjusted.

Weighted Feedings

You can also always do a weighted feeding (also called test weighing) for some reassurance. This will allow you to measure how much milk your baby is getting during a single feeding. Check your local hospital and/or midwifery services to see if they have breastfeeding support groups where you can do a weighted feeding with your baby. If your local area does not offer these, you can either check with your pediatricians office to see if they will let do a weighted feeding in their office, or you can always buy your own baby scale. Here is how a weighted feeding works:

  1. Weigh baby with just a dry diaper on
  2. Feed baby from one side
  3. Weigh baby
  4. Offer the other breast to baby; He/she may or may not eat off it
  5. Weigh baby again if he/she nursed off it
  6. The difference in weight is how much your baby ate during that feeding

These are all signs that baby is getting enough milk. Only when baby is not gaining weight or isn’t having enough wet or dirty diapers should you need to supplement. Those first couple of weeks of breastfeeding are exhausting and nerve-racking, but it does get better mama. I promise!

Did You Find This Post Helpful?

Leave me a comment or share with your expecting friends! Do you have a question? Just ask! I’m happy to help mama!

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8 Comments

  1. Tara on June 12, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    All great points. lt’s also important to remember that all babies are different. I BF my first 2 babies for 22 and 14 months respectively and SO thought I was a pro. Then I had my 3rd and it all went pear shaped! It took 3 lactation consultants and 4 child health nurses before the last one figured out that she just had an oddly shaped short palate and couldn’t really get the milk flowing. I topped her up with expressed milk in a bottle until her mouth grew a bit, lol, then we had another 18 months of breastfeeding. That was 11 years ago, I miss it <3

    • Messy Mom Nicolle on June 12, 2017 at 7:27 pm

      That is such a good point Tara! Every baby and every situation is different! I’m so glad that you were able to figure out why she wasn’t latching properly and were able to give her expressed milk in the meantime! Pumping might be even harder than nursing!

  2. Shelby @ Blooming Beckers' on June 9, 2017 at 7:03 am

    These are great tips! This is something I constantly was worried about with my second!

    • Messy Mom Nicolle on June 9, 2017 at 9:58 pm

      Thank you Shelby! I was constantly worried with my first as well, but fortunately it led me to do loads of research to make sure baby was getting enough milk.

  3. Heidi on June 9, 2017 at 6:02 am

    Thanks for the information! My first baby is due in November and I’m trying to learn what I can so I don’t freak out about this kind of thing later on.

    • Messy Mom Nicolle on June 9, 2017 at 10:00 pm

      Congrats Heidi! I wish you a safe and healthy delivery and hope you will have a successful breastfeeding relationship with your little one! During my first pregnancy, I was so worried that I wasn’t going to be able to make enough milk for my little one, so I did loads of research on breastfeeding, and it was worth it! Learn as much as you can so you can know what is normal for a breastfed baby and when you need to supplement.

  4. Amanda @ Kandy Apple Mama on June 8, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    These are perfect tips for breastfeeding moms! I recently read a terrible story about a baby nearly starving to death because the mom was so focused on breastfeeding exclusively that she didn’t even think about “is he gaining weight?”. It was incredibly sad but thankfully she took the baby to the doctor in time who said to supplement while she worked on increasing supply.

    • Messy Mom Nicolle on June 9, 2017 at 9:54 pm

      Yes, those cases are indeed scary, but rare. It’s so important to count wet and dirty diapers and make sure baby is gaining weight. I’m so glad she got baby to the doctor in time. Nothing wrong with supplementing, as long as baby is fed and healthy!

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