Is My Baby Getting Enough Breast Milk?
Most nursing mums can’t help but wonder if their precious little bundle is getting enough milk. While babies and crying are synonymous, the last thing any mum would want is to suspect that their baby’s cries is because of unfulﬁlled hunger, for after all, it’s not like one can see how much milk a baby is drinking while he or she is being breastfed! Still, there are signs you could look out for to put your mind at ease.
Most nursing mothers are able to provide all the milk needed for their little one’s nourishment. Still, there may be incidents when a baby doesn’t get enough. When this situation isn’t addressed, a baby can suffer from dehydration and failure to thrive. While these conditions are uncommon, they are, nevertheless, serious.
For most mums, the following will be observed to signify that their breastfeeding baby is getting enough nourishment:
- The breasts feel softer after nursing, because her baby has emptied some of the milk that was making them ﬁrm.
- After a feeding, the baby seems relaxed and satisﬁed.
- During the ﬁrst few days, when a nursing baby is feeding on colostrum, he or she might go through only one or two wet diapers a day. As soon as a mum’s milk come in, the baby will begin to wet six to eight cloth diapers a day, or ﬁve or six disposables.
- Most babies lose between 5 and 9 percent of their birth weight and then regain it by the time they’re about 2 weeks old. Following that, the baby should continue to gain weight. As a rough guideline, for the ﬁrst month, a baby should gain 5 to 10 ounces a week; in months 2 and 3, the weight gain should be about 5 to 8 ounces a week; in months 3 to 6 it should be between 2.5 and 4.5 ounces a week; and from 6 to 12 months, the baby should be putting on 1 to 3 ounces a week.
- During the ﬁrst month of a baby’s life, he or she will pass motion at least three times a day. The stools will lighten to a yellowy mustard colour by the ﬁfth day after birth. The baby may have less frequent bowel movements once he or she is a month old. In fact, it’s not uncommon for breastfed babies to skip a day of bowel movements now and then.
When a baby begins to eat solid foods, motion passing will become quite regular and babies usually will have at least one bowel movement a day.
How Much Pumped Breast Milk Is Enough?
If you feed your baby pumped breast milk, you can follow these guidelines to know how much your baby will need:
Up until a month old, most babies will take 2.5 to 3 ounces of breast milk in a bottle, feeding about eight times a day, for a total of 20 to 24 ounces in 24 hours. After that, the average amount of breast milk until 6 months of age is around 26 to 28 ounces per day, divided into six to eight feedings.
If solids are started earlier than 6 months, the amount of breast milk a baby takes will decrease.
Note: As these are just rough guidelines, please do not attempt to force feed your little one the total accumulated amount each day as a rule. An exclusively breastfed baby should be taking in at least 25 ounces a day, though.