One of the most common questions new breastfeeding mamas have is: How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?
While the only one who can tell exactly how much your baby needs is, well, your baby, there are three key things that you can check for your own peace of mind.
1. Baby Falls Asleep After Feeding or Appears Relaxed
This one is simple. Typically, when a newborn baby feels full, he/she will either nod off after a meal or appear content/relaxed. The baby will have relaxed hands, face or body or the "milk drunk" look. If baby is sucking...keep them on the breast! As baby slows down or even nods off, you can try to wake them or offer the other breast.
If little one is still hungry, you will notice sucking motions, rooting around, putting fingers in mouth and acting fussy and uneasy.
The old saying, "What goes in must come out" is true in breastfeeding!
Days 1-6 You want to see a wet and dirty diaper each day, starting with 1/1 on Day 1 and going up from there.
Eg. Day 3= 3 wet and 3 dirty diapers
Sometime during this first week, your milk supply "comes in", or matures to a fuller and more consistent supply. At this time your baby's tummy will adjust to handle increasing amounts of milk. Most moms see between 4-6 wet diapers and 3-4 dirty diapers.
3. How Do They Feel?
While this is not a foolproof sign, your breasts can often tell you if they are full or empty from how they feel. Veteran breastfeeding mamas will admit that a breast usually feels full, heavier and firm before the baby eats.
However, that first week it's important to keep feeding the baby often, regardless of how your breast feels (or doesn't feel). A newborn needs to eat (roughly) every 2-4 hours. Make sure baby has a good latch and you've done half the work already!
Hang in there mamas. You can do this!