Feeding your baby, whether by breast or bottle, is supposed to be such an enjoyable time for bonding. And it is, as the days and weeks go by and you find yourself more comfortable with those feedings. But in the beginning, it can be a little scary, if only because you don’t fully know what to expect. And that unknowing produces a lot of questions:
- Is the baby latching correctly?
- Is your milk coming in as it should?
- And is your baby eating enough?
For those first 2 questions, visiting a lactation specialist can always help you to find the answers you need. But when it comes to knowing whether or not your baby is getting enough to eat, how can you tell?
The truth is, all babies are different, and some will simply need more to eat than others. The general guidelines suggest you should be nursing your baby every two to three hours in that first month, or 8 to 12 times in every 24-hour period. Formula fed babies can eat a little less frequently, maybe one less feeding a day. But as long as you are within those guidelines, all is likely well.
During those feedings, most babies should be getting about two and a half to three ounces, though you obviously wouldn’t be able to measure that if you are breastfeeding. So for you breastfeeding mamas, you would be looking at between 10 and 20 minutes for each feeding; keeping in mind that some babies take longer than others.
Given all of that, how else can you tell if your baby is eating enough?
- How do your breasts feel? If you are breastfeeding, your breasts should feel softer after each feeding, because your baby should have just relieved some of the milk pressure.
- How does your baby seem? A full baby is happy, relaxed, and alert baby. Follow your baby’s cues. He or she will let you know when they are done, and as long as they seem healthy and alert after, you’re probably doing just fine.
- How many diapers? A baby who is getting enough to eat will have five to eight wet diapers a day.
- Is your baby gaining weight? If you have concerns about how much your baby is eating, a visit to the pediatrician may be in order. As long as he or she is gaining 4 to 10 ounces a week in the first month, they are getting enough to eat.
- What about the poop? After your milk comes in, your little one should be producing at least 3 poopy diapers a day. That poop should be soft and mustard yellow brown in color for the first month.
As always, if you have any concerns at all, book an appointment with your pediatrician. But don’t be afraid to trust your mommy gut as well. If all the signs above are positive, your baby is probably right on track!
Written by Leah Campbell, infertility advocate, adoptive mama, writer and editor. Find me @sifinalaska on Twitter.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.