A very common question in the early weeks of breastfeeding is, “How can I know if my baby is getting enough breast milk at the breast?” For some parents, this is a bit “nail biting” as they can’ t actually see the number of ounces of milk going into their baby as they can when offering a bottle. However, here are some indicators of adequate intake.
A normal feeding interval is anywhere from every 1.5-3 hours, counted from the beginning of the previous feeding. Can your baby go that long? Obviously, there are times when your baby will cluster feed, but overall, your baby should be able to go at least these intervals before he wants to eat again.
Is he having at least 6-8 was, and 3-4 stools? In 24 hours?
Can you hear a lot is swallowing as your milk flows to him? Your breast will usually feel fuller before a feeding, but it should feel somewhat less full after a feeding. The milk had to go somewhere! The swallowing coupled with a softer breast post feeding is a good sign.
Watch your baby’s body language! At the start of the feeding, he will be somewhat tight in positioning ( we usually have to hold their flailing hands out of the way to get them latched on!). As the feeding progresses, as they become fuller And more content, they appear more relaxed.
Ultimately , the gold standard of knowing they are getting enough milk is an adequate weight gain.
If you are concerned, an appointment with a lactation consultant is helpful as she will do a weigh in nursing to document the actual intake at the breast.
Contact your pediatrician or a lactation consultant for further assistance.