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4 Signs Your Newborn Is Getting Enough Breast Milk

You are home with your full term, healthy baby.

Expect breastfeeding to happen. 

It does, everyday, all over the world.

1. MY BABY IS SETTLED AT MY BREAST, SUCKING AND SWALLOWING

This is your first indicator that things are perfectly normal. She settles, she latches, she keeps sucking and swallowing until she chooses to come up for air. She burps and resettles for some more or she doesn’t. She is content. Perhaps quiet and alert, perhaps milk-drunk and ready to sleep for a couple of hours.

2. MY BABY IS GAINING WEIGHT  

Weight loss after birth is expected. Your baby can regain her birth weight in as few as five days. Some newborns need up to eight days. ½ - ¾ oz per day is the expected weight gain for a breastfed infant. Weigh every four to five days to see the cumulative weight gain. This weight gain will continue for the first four to six months.

3. MY BABY IS URINATING  

Depending on your colostrum output and your baby’s ability to suck at breast, your baby might put out 1 or 2 urine diapers on Days 1 and 2. A pinkish stain, looking a lot like facial cosmetics, might appear in your baby’s diaper along with her urine. We call this brick dust and it’s caused by urate crystals. While normal in a newborn, it is considered a sign of dehydration in an older infant. After Day 4, you should expect an odorless, pale yellow to colorless urine at least 6 times a day.

4. MY BABY IS POOPING  

Between Days 1 and 3, your baby’s bowel movements will change from black to green, and then to yellow seedy or curd-like by Day 4. She will likely poop during or shortly after a feeding. If you’re using both breasts per feed, she will get a double lactose load from the fore milk and will have more frequent stools, gas and bowel movements unassociated to a feeding. And perhaps a slower weight gain. After Day 4, your baby should have at least 2-3 stools per day and after the first six weeks she may start skipping days though they will still be soft.

A consultation with a board-certified lactation consultant can be extremely helpful in confirming or fine tuning your skills, especially in the first week.

Always consult with your pediatric care providers if your just born is not content with feedings, reaching her weight goals or has decreasing urine and bowel movements.

References

Dewey, K., et al.  Breastfed infants are leaner than formula-fed infants at one year of age: The DARLING study.  Am J Clin Nutr 1993; 57:140-45.

Dewey, K., Heinig, M., Nommsen, L., et al. Growth of breast-fed and formula-fed infants from 0 to 18 months: the DARLING Study. Pediatrics 1992 Jun; 89(6 Pt 1):1035-41.

Shrago, L. Adequacy of breastmilk intake: assessment and interventions. Presented at the La Leche League International Lactation Consultant Workshop. October 30, 1998, Chicago, IL.

Paula Zindler
RN IBCLC

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