How do I know if my baby is feeding well?

 

As a lactation consultant, I get asked this question all of the time..."How do I know if my baby is feeding well?" First of all, it all depends on the age of the baby because feeding and weight gain patterns change as the baby grows and gets older.

For a 1 day old to 14 day old newborn:

How do I know things are going well?

  • Your baby nurses 8 or more times in 24 hours and is vigorous for at least 20 minutes of each feeding.
  • Your baby’s urine and stool output increases daily, and by 1 week of age he/she is urinating 6 or more times and has yellow stools 4 or more times in 24 hours.
  • Your breasts start to feel full 3-5 days after your baby was born.
  • Your baby settles after most feedings.
  • Your breasts may be tender, but it is not painful to breastfeed.
  • Your baby regains his/her birth weight by 10-14 days old.

How do I know that I need to meet with a lactation consultant?

  • Your baby nurses less than 8 times a day (during the first few months)
  • Your baby seems hungry all of the time, yet consistently eats for a few minutes and then falls asleep at breast.
  • Your baby has not regained his/her birth weight by 10-14 days old or has very slow weight gain.
  • You have very sore and/or cracked nipples and it is painful to breastfeed.
  • You are worried that you do not enough milk.
  • Your baby is increasingly getting yellow from jaundice.

References: Counseling the Nursing Mother by Lauwers and Swisher

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