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Is my baby getting enough milk?

Signs of hunger and fullness

Your baby will show you that he/she is hungry before crying starts.  Once crying, he/she is probably very hungry, and you may need to calm him down before he will attach and feed well (Karl, 2004).

As you get to know your baby, look out for the following signals of hunger:

Signs of a Satisfying Feed

Mums sometimes worry that they don’t know how much milk baby is getting when they are breastfeeding.  Trust your baby to know when they are hungry and when they have had enough.  If you feed frequently, when you or baby want to breastfeed, and in response to the cues above, then baby is likely to be getting plenty of milk.

These are things to look for to tell you that a feed is going well (and baby is getting plenty of milk):

  • After some possible discomfort as the baby attaches, feeding is painfree..
  • Your baby is completely relaxed once he or she has attached to the breast, with eyes closed and hands beginning to relax.
  • You can see (and sometimes hear) baby swallowing.
  • Your baby’s sucking changes from short, fast sucks initially to longer, slow, deeper sucks for most of the feed, with some little flutters towards the end, sometimes with long pauses in between.
  • Your baby comes off the breast spontaneously and looks satisfied.
  • Your nipple is a normal shape after a feed – possibly longer than when it went in but not squashed or mis-shapen.

Frequency of wet and dirty nappies

***TRY THIS:  pour 3 tablespoons of water (45ml) into a dry nappy then pick it up.  That is how heavy your baby’s nappy should be, at least 6 times in 24 hours***

Day 1

Your baby will pass a black tarry poo called meconium.  

Day 2-3

The poo will change to become greener and looser.

Day 4-5

The poo will now be bright yellow and may have milk curds that look like seeds. It is normal for them to be runny.

Following days/ weeks

Your baby should pass at least 2 yellow poos each day for the first few weeks.

After the early weeks it can be normal for babies to go for several days without a poo.  If this is the case, as long as your baby is producing lots of wet nappies, and seems to be happy, then you don’t need to worry.

 

For more information on this, or to see photographs of normal nappies , check out the National Childbirth Trust leaflet “What’s in a nappy?” and the Department of Health leaflet ‘Off To The Best Start’ 

References
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Karl, D. J. (2004). Using principles of newborn behavioral state organization to facilitate breastfeeding. MCN The American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing, 29(5), 292–8.