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New moms while becoming familiar with breastfeeding may often worry about their baby getting enough milk. This is quite understandable, as every mom wants her baby to get proper nourishment and it may be difficult to ascertain how much milk a baby is drinking during breastfeeding (unlike in bottle-feeding where one can measure the precise quantity of formula or breast milk a baby gets). In case the baby is exclusively being breastfed it becomes all the more imperative to determine that he is getting adequate breast milk.
It is also important to understand here that every woman can have a different breastfeeding experience. Some women are disposed to hyperlactation – meaning they produce a lot of breast milk than their baby can consume. Some women, on the other hand, have a low milk supply wherein the breast milk may take time to come. Some babies can latch on very easily while some may face problems in this respect.
Babies are different too! Some babies may seem eager to be fed several times a day (forcing you to wonder whether he is getting enough with every feed), while others may continue to sleep for hours without feeding (compelling you to wonder if he is too weary to get up). In such a confusing scenario, new moms can look out for certain signs that may indicate that their breast milk supply is sufficient and the baby is getting enough milk at every feed.
How to Know Your Baby Is Full When Breastfeeding
It can be very tempting for a mom to urge her baby to gulp down that remaining bit of milk or give in to the impulse of feeding him some more when he seems reluctant to eat or has eaten less than usual. However, it is crucial to appreciate that your baby may know when he has had his fill; his hunger can vary on different days or from feed to feed. By constantly persuading your baby to keep feeding when they seem full you may end up training him to ignore his body’s cues and get into the habit of overfeeding. Therefore you need to know when your baby is full. Watch out for the following cues in your baby to know when he is full!
1. Baby Turning Away From the Breast/Bottle
If your baby thrusts the nipple out using his tongue or tries to turn his head away from the breast or bottle he is probably full.
2. Baby Appears Easily Distracted
In case the baby starts to play and look around instead of drinking milk it can be a sign that he is not hungry yet/anymore!
3. Baby Starts to Cry Soon After Feeding Begins
Your baby may start to fuss or cry at the breast after a nursing session signalling his satisfaction.
4. Baby Slowing Down His Sucking
You may expect your baby to switch to slower and lighter suckling with lengthier pauses; this may indicate his contentment.
5. Baby Beginning to Fall Asleep
Some babies upon becoming tummy-full may lull off to sleep while breastfeeding. Babies can achieve gratification within a few minutes of nursing as their stomachs are small and may appear drowsy as they get full.
6. Baby’s Hands are Open
If you notice that at the end of breastfeeding your baby’s hands are relaxed with fingers extending it may be your baby’s means of indicating he is no longer hungry.
7. Baby’s Body Feels at Ease
If you sense your baby’s posture is beginning to relax and loosen up after feeding, be assured that he is soon going to be full.
8. Baby Lets Out a Wet Burp
Some babies may experience a wet burp after feeding is over wherein a little milk often dribbles out of the mouth – this is a sureshot satiety cue.
9. Baby’s Hiccups
10. Let Go of Breast
Your baby may cease to suck and release your breast after nursing which may signal fulfilment.
What Are the Signs That Your Baby is Getting Enough Breast Milk?
Most breastfeeding moms worry about whether their baby is getting enough milk. The fact is that the production of breast milk usually works on the principle of demand and supply. So most breastfeeding moms need to realise that in case they are experiencing low milk supply, in the beginning, they will start to produce more as soon as the baby begins to breastfeed. The more your baby feeds, the more milk your body will produce. Make sure that the baby’s feeding position is comfortable along with the mother’s feeding posture. The baby should have a mouthful of breast. Some signs that your baby is getting enough breast milk can be:
1. Baby’s Weight
Baby’s steady weight gain is one of the most positive signs which show that the baby is getting enough breast milk. During the first few days of baby’s birth, some amount of weight loss is common. But post this phase, the baby’s weight should gradually increase. Baby should double the birth weight by six months and triple by one year.
2. Baby’s Urine
A baby getting sufficient breast milk will pass more urine several times during the day. So you may be changing wet diapers quite frequently each day. About a minimum of eight times in 24 hours is good.
3. Baby’s Stools
In case the baby is adequately fed, the colour of his stool may convert to dark yellow within the second week of his birth. Babies who are solely on breastmilk are likely to pass stool regularly daily.
4. Baby’s Responses
Your baby may respond to a satisfying nursing session by looking happy, active and content at the end of it.
5. Baby’s Swallowing
You may hear your baby making small gulping sounds or notice small movements of his lower jaw while breastfeeding which possibly indicates good feeding session.
6. Softer Breasts
Your breast may feel softer and lighter instead of heavy and firm after breastfeeding signifying that your baby has consumed all the milk in your breast.
7. Breastfeeding Frequency
Typically a newborn baby may need around 10 to 12 feeds in a day. This frequency may decrease as the baby grows. But during growth spurts, the breastfeeding frequency may be higher. Breastfeeding moms can follow the breastfeeding frequency indicator to establish if their baby is properly fed or not.
8. Sleep Patterns
Your baby may be sleeping peacefully and for a longer duration, signalling a satisfying nursing session.
In case your baby looks lethargic or dissatisfied even after a long feeding session, chances are he is not getting enough milk to drink.
10. Dry Mouth
Some babies may develop dry eyes or mouth which can be a sign of dehydration due to insufficient intake of breast milk.
Breastfeeding moms may not needlessly worry about if their baby is getting enough milk or not while nursing because chances are he is! In case of any lingering concerns, it is always desirable to consult a lactation counsellor for suitable remedial action.
Also Read: Over Supply of Breast Milk