Nursing 101: Is your newborn getting enough milk?


The first weeks of motherhood can be stressful, overwhelming, and confusing. You may find yourself constantly questioning your parenting tactics and wishing there were some sort of newborn coach to guide you through. You may obsess over analyzing dirty diapers, trying to squeeze in more sleep, and ensuring your little one is happy and calm.

If you’ve chosen to exclusively breastfeed, nursing opens up a whole different can of worms when it comes to worrying. Rest assured, here’s one thing you won’t have to stress over. Here’s how to take a deep breath and relax, knowing your newborn baby is getting enough to eat:

Understand frequent feedings

Is your brand new baby nursing around the clock? Are you stressing that this means your little one never gets enough to eat? Breathe. Throughout your time nursing, your child may have periods where he or she feeds more often than usual. This helps to build or adjust your milk supply based on your little one’s demands.

Read more: The nursing mom’s eating handbook

Check the scale

A good indicator that your newborn is getting enough to eat is to check his or her weight. While brand new babies typically lose 10 percent of their birth weight after leaving the hospital, most gain those ounces back within 10-14 days. If your little one is well-fed, you’ll see the numbers on the scale progress accordingly.

Count diapers

In the first week after baby’s birth, your newborn should be producing 6-8 wet diapers each day, with regular bowel movements too. If your little one has trouble wetting diapers, it may be a sign that he or she isn’t taking in enough milk.

Note the disposition

How’s baby acting throughout the day? If he or she seems satisfied after breastfeeding – and has periods of being alert and active, your little one is most likely taking in enough milk. Though do keep in mind that during the first month of life, newborns sleep an average of 16.5 hours during the day.

Listen in

While your little one is nursing, you should be able to hear him or her swallowing. Watch your baby’s mouth too during feeding sessions. You’ll want to look out for a strong and steady motion in your newborn’s lower jaw.

If your newborn baby doesn’t meet one or more of these requirements, call your pediatrician right away. Most likely, with the help of your baby’s doctor and a lactation consultant, you can remedy the situation and ensure your child’s getting everything he or she needs.

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