How To Tell If Your Baby Is Getting Enough Breast Milk

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Your baby will need to latch on correctly to get enough breast milk. You will learn to recognize signs that he has latched on correctly. You should be able to hear him suck and swallow in a regular pattern. You should have little or no discomfort in your nipple or breast. Your baby should seem calm after breastfeeding. He may fall asleep, or his face, arms, and hands may look relaxed.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider (PHP) as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Signs that your nbaby is getting enough breast milk:

  • Your baby has several wet or soiled diapers each day. When he is 4 days old, he should have 3 to 4 bowel movements each day. Your baby should also have 6 to 8 wet diapers a day.

  • Your baby is gaining weight. Your baby's pediatrician will check his weight at each visit to see if he is gaining weight as he should. Your baby may lose weight in the first 3 days after birth. By 4 to 5 days old, your baby should start gaining weight.

  • Your breasts feel different before and after breastfeeding. Your breasts should feel full before breastfeeding your baby and softer after. This means that your baby is emptying your breasts during breastfeeding.

  • Your baby feeds 8 or more times each day. Your baby may let you know when he is ready to breastfeed. He may be wide awake and moving his arms and legs more. He may turn his head toward your breast and move his mouth more. He may put his hand up to his mouth and suck his fingers or his fist. You may need to wake your baby to feed him.

How to care for yourself while you are breastfeeding:

  • Follow a healthy meal plan. Follow a healthy meal plan that provides the amount of calories and nutrients you need while you are breastfeeding. Your body needs extra calories and nutrients to keep you healthy and support milk production. A healthy meal plan includes a variety of foods from all the food groups. You need about 8 to 12 cups of liquids each day to prevent dehydration and keep up your milk supply. Drink a beverage each time you breastfeed to help you get enough liquids. Drink liquids that do not contain caffeine, such as water, juice, and milk. Ask your PHP for more information on breastfeeding and your diet.

  • Ask about medicines. Talk to your PHP before you take any medicines. This includes all prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Some medicines may decrease the amount of breast milk you make. Other medicines may enter your breast milk and affect your baby.

  • Keep a diary. Write down each time you breastfeed your baby and when you pump your breasts. Make a note of how much milk you pump out each time. You also can write down when your baby has wet or soiled diapers. A diary can help you and your PHP know if your baby is getting enough milk.

Contact your PHP if:

  • Your baby is 4 or more days old and has fewer than 6 wet diapers each day.

  • Your baby is 4 or more days old and has fewer than 3 to 4 bowel movements each day.

  • Your baby is not gaining weight or looks as if he is losing weight.

  • Your breasts do not feel full or swollen, or you are not leaking breast milk within 5 days of giving birth.

  • Your baby is feeding fewer than 8 times each day.

  • Your baby is fussy or acts hungry after you breastfeed.

  • You do not hear your baby swallowing while you are breastfeeding.

  • You have nipple pain during breastfeeding or between feedings. Your nipples look red, dry, cracked, or they have scabs on them.

  • Your baby becomes jaundiced (skin and whites of the eyes are turning yellow).

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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