As a birth doula, I get asked pretty often by clients if their baby is getting enough milk when they nurse. Particularly in those first days and weeks when baby is getting just colostrum for awhile and then when mama's milk "comes in".
Have you ever wondered if your baby is getting enough?
Following is an excerpt borrowed from La Leche League's "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" that may help answer your question.
How will you know if your baby is getting enough milk? He is probably getting enough to eat if he nurses every two or three hours. Is he "filling out" and putting on weight? Growing in length? Active and alert? A "yes" to these questions is an indication that your baby is thriving.
A quick, easy way to reassure yourself that your infant is getting enough milk is to check the number of wet diapers. If he has six to eight really wet cloth diapers a day (five to six disposable diapers), you can be sure he is getting plenty of milk. Frequent bowel movements are also a sign that baby is getting enough to eat. For the first six weeks or so, a breastfed baby will usually have two to five bowel movements a day.
From time to time, your doctor will weigh the baby as a way of measuring his physical progress. Some babies never lose an ounce from the day they're born, and put on weight with the greatest of ease. Most babies lose some weight during the first week but get back to birth weight by two to three weeks of age. After that, a pound a month, or four to eight ounces a week, is usually considered an acceptable gain, although some babies gain as much as a pound a week in the early months. Family characteristics and the baby's individual makeup need to be considered. Remember - healthy, happy babies come in all shapes and sizes. Both the quite fat and the very slim baby can be normal and healthy. Neither bigness nor smallness is a reason for concern as long as the baby's food is human milk and nursings are according to his needs. If you feed your baby in the way that is naturally intended for the human infant, his weight gain will be what is natural for your particular child.
With regard to baby's size and appetite, Malinda Sawyer of Missouri observes, "Mothers who give birth to large babies and mothers who give birth to small babies have at least one thing in common: They can expect to have their ability to totally breastfeed the baby questioned."
Marian Tompson, one of La Leche League's co-Founders, remembers when two of her nieces had identical weights of seventeen pounds - but one baby was six months old and the other was one and on-half years old. Yet the doctor for each was satisfied that the baby was healthy.
Don't forget that Sioux Falls La Leche League meets this Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Educated Mommy! We hope to see you then!