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Determining Whether a Breastfed Baby is Getting Enough to Eat

As a new breastfeeding mother, you might be wondering whether your newborn is getting enough milk. To help you properly determine whether your little one is eating enough, we’ve compiled a list of ways of judging whether your baby is well-fed. If after looking over the below signs you’re still not sure whether your baby is getting enough breast milk, talk to your pediatrician for help.

Good Ways of Judging

• Weight Gain: A healthy baby that is being fed properly steadily gains weight, hence weight gain is usually considered the most reliable sign that a baby is getting enough to eat. Talk to your pediatrician to know what to expect in terms of proper weight gain for your baby so you can evaluate whether your infant is growing properly.
• Feeding Frequency: The majority of breastfed newborns feed 8 to 13 times a day, which usually translates to every 2-3 hours. As your baby grows, its feeding frequency will change, and you can expect it to require less frequent feedings by its 6th or 8th week.
• Swallowing: You can determine whether your baby is getting enough breast milk by its swallowing motions. Look for a strong, rhythmic and steady motion in your baby’s lower jaw, which means it’s getting enough milk to swallow. You might even notice a small amount of milk dribbling from the side of your baby’s mouth, which indicates that there is enough milk coming out.
• Feeling in Breasts: Your breasts should feel firm and full before a feeding, and softer or emptier afterward. A correctly latched on baby will suck properly on the breast, and you’ll feel a gentle pulling sensation. If your baby isn’t properly latched on, you might feel a pinching or biting sensation on your nipple.
• Soiled Diapers: Your baby should wet its Fine Baby® diapers 6-8 times a day by the fourth day after its birth. Your baby should also soil its Fine Baby® diapers 3 or more times a day; the stool should be dark and sticky the first couple of days before becoming seedy, loose and golden yellow.
• Baby’s Satisfaction: If your baby is getting enough to eat, it should seem satisfied, alert and active after feedings. A healthy skin tone is also a good indicator of whether your child is feeding enough.

Incorrect Ways of Judging

• Baby’s Sleeping Patterns: Your baby sleeping soundly through the night does not necessarily mean that it is full and feeding properly. In fact, you should be wary if your baby seems too sleepy and has to be awakened for feeds. If this is the case, talk to your pediatrician to check whether your infant’s sleepiness is a sign of underlying problems.
• Taking a Bottle After Feeding: If your baby accepts a bottle of milk after being breastfed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is still hungry. Babies will sometimes continue to feed even when they’re full.
• Pulling Away from the Breast: Newborns often fall asleep while breastfeeding during the first few weeks of life, even if they are not yet full. Your baby might also pull away from your breast if it is not properly latched on or if it is colicky.