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How To Tell If Your Baby Is Getting Enough Breast Milk
What you need to know about how your breasts produce milk:
You may worry that your baby is not getting enough breast milk. This may be because you do not know how many ounces your baby drinks during a feeding. You may be concerned that you cannot produce enough milk if you have a small breast size. Breasts of any size can produce plenty of milk as long as your baby feeds regularly and often.
How to know if your baby is getting enough breast milk:
- Your baby is latched on to your breast correctly. You will learn to recognize signs that he has latched on correctly. You may 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's chest is against your body. He should not have to turn his head to breastfeed. Your baby will seem calm after breastfeeding if he is latched on correctly and getting enough breast milk. He may fall asleep, or his face, arms, and hands may look relaxed.
- 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. He should also have 6 to 8 wet diapers a day. His urine should be clear or pale yellow.
- Your baby is gaining weight. Your baby's healthcare provider 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 to 12 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.
Contact your healthcare provider 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 bowel movements each day.
- Your baby is not gaining weight or looks like he is losing weight.
- Your breasts do not feel full, 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).
- You have any questions or concerns about breastfeeding.
How to care for yourself while you are breastfeeding:
- Follow a healthy meal plan. A healthy meal plan 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 also need about 8 to 12 cups of liquid each day to prevent dehydration and keep up your milk supply. Drink a beverage each time you breastfeed to help you get enough liquid. Choose liquids that do not contain caffeine. Examples are water, juice, and milk. Ask your healthcare provider for more information on breastfeeding and your diet.
- Ask about medicines. Talk to your healthcare provider 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 healthcare provider know if your baby is getting enough milk.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
For support and more information:
- American Academy of Pediatrics
141 Northwest Point Boulevard
Elk Grove Village , IL 60007-1098
Phone: 1- 847 - 434-4000
Web Address: http://www.aap.org
- La Leche League International
957 North Plum Grove Road
Schaumburg , IL 60173
Phone: 1- 847 - 519-7730
Phone: 1- 800 - 525-3243
Web Address: http://www.lalecheleague.org
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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.