How to Know Your Newborn Is Eating Enough
Breastfeeding moms often worry if their newborns are eating enough. Since they don't see what their babies eat, it's often difficult to know if the baby is eating enough. Here are helpful tips to monitor your newborn's progress and to feel secure with your breastfeeding techniques and results.
Check on Baby's Progress
While you can't see how much milk your baby is drinking, you can monitor his progress. Monitoring his weight gain is a reliable sign that he is getting enough to eat. Most babies lose weight in the first two weeks. However, they generally gain it back, and more, after this time. Your baby will be weighted at each check-up and the doctor will let you know if he is progressing in a normal pattern.
Frequency of Feedings
Most newborns breastfeed between eight and 12 times a day, which means they feed every two to three hours. By the time your baby is two or three months old, he will begin to space out his feedings a bit more. Your baby will have growth spurts, usually at around 10-14 days, three weeks, six weeks, three months and six months. During these times, he may want to breastfeed even more. Trust yourself and your baby, and feed your baby on demand.
Patterns During Feedings
Pay attention to the sounds the baby makes during feedings and to how you feel. Can you hear your baby swallowing while he's eating? Do you see a strong, steady rhythmic motion in your baby's cheeks while he's feeding? Do you see milk dribbling out of his mouth at times during the feedings? In addition, pay attention to how your breasts feel while you are feeding him. You should feel a gentle pulling sensation on your breast while your newborn is eating. You shouldn't feel a pinching or biting sensation. Your breasts should feel softer and emptier after the feeding than they did before your feeding.
The Diapers Say A Lot
Keep a record of your baby's diapers if you are nervous about the amount that he eats. Your baby should have six to eight wet diapers a day for the first few weeks. There should also be three or more bowel movements a day. At first the stool will be dark and sticky, and then it will become seedy, loose and gold in color.
Don't be embarrassed to ask for help. If you're unsure that your baby is eating enough, or you're worried about his weight gain or fussiness, talk to your doctor or lactation consultant. Go for extra check ups if you want your baby weighed and monitored more. This is your baby and you have the right to be comfortable and to know that he's getting enough to eat. Most women will get the hang of breastfeeding, and will find that their babies are getting plenty to eat. Breastfeeding should allow you to feel proud of yourself for providing your baby with all of his nutrients while giving you the chance to enjoy this time to bond with your baby and relax together.