Almost all breastfeeding parents go through a period when they think they don’t have enough breast milk. Sometimes parents worry about this soon after the birth of their baby. Other times even after breastfeeding is well established.
The most common reason for stopping breastfeeding is when parents feel they don’t have enough breast milk. The good news is that most parents have more than enough breast milk to feed their baby. It is impossible to know exactly how much breast milk your baby is getting. You can’t measure how much your baby is receiving but you can look for other signs that your baby is getting enough breast milk.
How to tell if your baby is getting enough breast milk:
1. Wet and dirty diapers
Count the number of wet and dirty diapers your baby has. This is a useful tool to see if your baby is getting enough. A baby that is feeding well on breast milk only will be peeing and pooing well too!
2. Weight gain
Your baby is getting enough milk if they are gaining weight. Your baby should:
- return to birth weight by day 10
- shows a pattern of weight gain by day 5
- gain at least 20-35 grams (2/3 – 1 1/4oz) a day in the first 3 to 4 months
3. More signs that breastfeeding is going well:
- your baby has a loud cry
- your baby’s mouth is wet and pink
- your baby’s eyes look alert
- your baby moves actively
- your baby comes off the breast looking relaxed and sleepy
- your breasts feel softer and less full after breastfeeding
Don’t worry if your breasts feel soft, they will still make enough breast milk
Having your baby breastfeed well and often in the first week will help you build a healthy breast milk supply. Breastfeed your baby at least 8 times in 24 hours (day and night) and look for baby’s feeding cues. Your baby will let you know when he or she is hungry.
Signs that your baby is hungry and needs to feed:
- makes sucking or soft sounds
- puts her hands in her mouth
- is making more body movements
- makes sucking or licking movements with her mouth
Breastfeed your baby when baby is calm and before baby is too hungry and crying.
Remember breastfeeding is a learned skill for breastfeeding parents and babies. It requires patience and practice. Get help right away if your baby is not breastfeeding well.
Still don’t think you have enough milk? Contact your health care professional or visit a breastfeeding clinic.