How do you know you’re feeding your baby enough?

Probably the one thing every mom has worried about at one point is- is my baby getting enough to eat?

For me, I didn’t start worrying about this until after I took Chichi home from the two week hospital stay.  While at the hospital, most of her feedings were taken care of by the nurses.  How much the nurses fed her was calculated according to her weight.  In general, babies will want to drink between 150-200ml of milk per kilogram of body weight per dayThis number is then divided by the number of feedings you give your baby (usually 8, if you feed every 3 hours) to give you the amount of milk per feeding.

There is also a handy calculator you can find here.

With that being said, unless your baby is formula fed, I would suggest that you do not stress yourself out with how much you’re giving your baby per feed.  It’s better to look at the signs your baby is giving you, rather than forcing them to finish a bottle/stay on the breast if they didn’t finish what they were “supposed” to finish.

This concept might be a little difficult to swallow because it’s natural to worry about how much your baby is eating, when you can’t see how much they’re eating if they’re breastfed.

In a hospital setting, if you are breastfeeding from your breast, the nurse will weigh your baby before and after you nurse them to calculate how much milk was taken.  In a home setting, most people don’t have the necessary equipment to measure something so small.  If you really need the reassurance, you can find a pediatric scale in most public health offices to do the before and after weigh yourself.

If your baby is latching on properly, you should feel no pain when your baby feeds.  After a few sucks, you may be able to feel a let down, and then you can see your baby’s sucking change from short and fast to long and slow. You can be assured that milk is indeed coming out if you can hear your baby swallow, and the ears are moving as they do so.  Most moms will also have milk leak out of the other breast after a let down.

Some babies will nurse for 5-10 minutes and be full, others won’t be full for 45 minutes or more.  On average, babies will feed for 20-30 minutes, or about 15 minutes per breast.

Some signs that your baby is full include: slowed suck-swallow pattern, releasing the nipple, and a sleepy, content baby.

A baby’s weight gain and number of diaper changes can also indicate whether your baby is well fed.  After the initial weight loss, a baby should regain their birth weight between 10-14 days of age.  Thereafter, babies will gain weight at 20-30g/day.  In addition, once the mother’s milk has come in and the meconium is passed, a baby should have 6-8 pee diapers per day.

If you believe there are any issues with breastfeeding, a lactation consultant can be of great help to you.

The La Leche League is also an excellent reference for breastfeeding.

And lastly, if your baby looks like this after a feed, then yes your baby is full!

Milk Drunk

Happy content baby

1 Comment on How do you know you’re feeding your baby enough?

  1. joanne
    January 26, 2014 at 6:26 pm (4 years ago)