Am I feeding my baby enough? Perhaps this is the most common question that resonates in the minds of many breastfeeding moms. Unlike moms who bottle feed, breastfeeding mothers can’t accurately tell how much their baby has already fed and they mostly just rely on cues that indicate fullness. When your baby refuses to latch on, do you immediately conclude that he’s already full? If you have always been guessing if he’s had enough, here are some cues that can help you determine if you are feeding your baby enough milk.
1. Determine how often your baby feeds during the day.
Newborn babies usually feed 8 to 12 times a day in either 2 to 3 hour intervals. Breastfed babies are fed more frequently as compared to formula-fed infants because breast milk is readily digestible and it moves through a baby’s digestive system quicker. Hence, breastfed babies tend to ask for more milk because they feel hungry more often.
When your baby turns one month old, he may need around 7 to 9 feedings per day. Growth spurts are expected when a baby is two weeks old and it may occur again during the 2nd, 4th and 6th month so expect feedings to slightly increase at the said time. To keep up with your baby’s demand for milk, breastfeed frequently to ensure that you can sufficiently produce enough breast milk.
2. Keep track of your baby’s weight.
Your doctor will monitor the weight of your baby because it is used as an indicator whether your baby has been taking in enough milk to support his needs. During the first week or two after birth, babies are expected to lose 7 to 10 percent of their birth weight due to fluid loss. But after the two week timeframe, babies are expected to start gaining weight already — at least 5 ounces per week on their first month of life. Healthy infants are expected to double their birth weight by ages 5 to 6 months and triple their birth weight on their first year. It’s pretty much normal for babies to lose a little weight at times but if you have reason to be concerned about your baby’s weight loss, consult your doctor.
3. Observe for hunger cues.
You will be able to tell if your baby is hungry by paying attention to hunger signs. If you notice your baby moving his head from side to side, opening his mouth, thrusting out his tongue or even putting his hand in his mouth, it means it’s time to feed him. If you cradle your baby and he seems to fidget a lot and tries to look for your breast, it means he is hungry. Crying is also a late sign of hunger but it can also be due to other common causes so before you start another feeding, evaluate first if your baby is truly hungry.
4. Check how many soiled diapers your baby has on a daily basis.
Newborns are expected to have 6 to 8 wet diapers per day. Breastfed infants are also expected to have at least 3 bowel movements daily. If your baby does not have a regular bowel movement or if he does not seem to have the number of wet diapers expected, it already means that you are not feeding him enough.
5. Observe your baby’s overall well-being.
You are not feeding your baby enough if he is not active especially after a feeding. Your baby may also not be getting enough milk if he’s not sleeping well. A healthy infant can nap from an hour to three hours at intervals. Well fed babies also have a good skin tone and they are not overly fussy between feedings.