The most frequently asked question lactation consultant get how do I know if my baby's getting enough to eat? This is the most common worry that breastfeeding moms have. They don’t measure the exact amount of breast milk that their newborns are getting. So how breastfeeding mothers know if their baby is getting enough to eat at each feeding? Newborn babies don’t drink that much in their first weeks of life. But they need to eat around 12 times a day every 2 to 3 hours. However, every baby is unique, but there are some guidelines that every nursing mom should take into account when it is time for a feeding.
How Much Do Babies Eat?
A baby who is getting enough milk will be active, meeting developmental milestones on schedule, and her height and head circumference will be steadily increasing. Her skin will also be firm and healthy-looking, and her eyes bright.
You can also tell a lot about how much baby is getting by how many wet and soiled diapers he’s producing. This will vary depending on his age, but in the baby older than one week, at least six very wet disposables (more if you’re using cloth) and two soiled diapers a day is a good sign that you're producing plenty of milk. Some babies do poop less frequently as they get a bit older but will make up in quantity what they lack in frequency.
If your baby is gaining weight slowly and you and your baby’s Doctor are concerned, this warrants some attention. Rarely, slow-gaining babies have some illness that needs to be addressed; however, the most common cause of this is mismanagement of breastfeeding. Are you scheduling the baby’s feedings or limiting his time at the breast?
Newborn to 2 months:
During his first weeks, he needs to be fed around 8 to 12 times a day after every 2 to 3 hours. Babies who are breastfeeding can eat up to 15 times a day. That’s about every 1.5 hours. Your newborn will spend around 20 minutes on your breast if you are nursing. Some may breastfeed for longer. Make sure that your little one is sucking and swallowing during this time.
If you are giving formula milk to your baby, then you must give 1.5 to 3 ounces of milk to your baby at each feeding. After the first month, babies start eating around 4 ounces of milk at each feeding. Once the little ones hang of nursing, they can get more milk from you.
At two months:
At the age of 2 months, babies drink around 4 to 5 ounces of milk at each feeding after every 3 to 4 hours.
At four months:
Now, babies need 6 ounces of milk, and you can start introducing solid foods to your baby. Or, you can wait if you are breastfeeding.
At six months:
At the age of 6 months, babies drink up to 8 ounces of milk, but they go longer between each feeding.
Can I breastfeed when my baby is sick?
Yes, you can continue breastfeeding because breastmilk is better than any other food that you give to your little one. Your baby is congested; keep her as upright as possible when nursing. Wearing her in a sling or baby carrier and nursing in a semi-upright position may help her manage breathing and nursing.
Breastmilk is not a “dairy product.” You may have been advised by your baby’s doctor to keep him or her away from dairy, but breastmilk is just fine; in fact, it’s just what the baby needs to help her heal. If your baby refuses to eat, offer him expressed milk in a cup or in a spoon. You can even make “momsicles” by freezing your breastmilk until its slushy and letting the baby eat it with a spoon (like a snow-cone!).
If your little one has diarrhea or vomiting, keep nursing. Use the breastfeeding bra to make your breastfeeding session more comfortable. The best nursing bra that you can choose is the Momcozy nursing bra. Sick children need more frequent feedings to prevent dehydration and hasten recovery. Even if the milk seems to come up quickly after it goes down, likely some of it is already digested, giving baby much-needed nutrition. Nursing also provides the baby with the comfort he is used to, helping him heal quickly and keeping him as comfortable as possible during the illness.
Signs of good feedings
In the first few days of his life, a baby loses around 10% of his body weight. But after that period, if he is gaining weight consistently, then it is a sign of good feeding. Moreover, it shows that your baby is getting enough to eat.
- Your baby is drinking milk 8 to 12 times or every 2 to 3 hours each day and latching on; then it is a sign of good feeding.
- Your baby’s wet diapers also tell you either he is getting enough to eat or not. After five days of his life, he should have about 6 to 8 wet diapers in a single day.
- Your breast feels softer after every breastfeeding session.
- Your baby appears content after each feeding, and he sleeps between the feeding sessions.
Signs of poor feeding
- There are some signs that show that your baby is not getting enough milk:
- Poor latching
- Flutter sucking
- Prolong and infrequent nursing
- He or she has not regained weight after two weeks or slow weight gain
- Inadequate wet diapers
- The baby is sucking, crying, and showing the signs of hunger after frequent feeding.
When to Call Your Baby's Doctor
You can talk to your lactation consultant or doctor as soon as possible if you see a sign of poor feeding. You need to examine your baby. It will be easier for you to get breastfeeding back on track if sooner you get help from your health care provider or lactation consultant.