La Leche League USA, 306 Glenn Avenue Lawrenceville, New Jersey 08648, United States
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Find Local Help ▶
HOW CAN I TELL IF MY BABY IS GETTING ENOUGH MILK?
It is quite common to wonder if your baby is truly drinking enough milk at the breast. It’s nearly impossible to measure the milk, because it can’t be seen. How do you tell if your baby is getting enough?
For the first few days, your breasts will be making colostrum for your baby. This first milk is thick and sticky but very nutritious and important for baby’s immune system. Your baby will likely feed frequently, at least 8-12 times and often more times in each 24 hour period. This frequent nursing in the early days helps to signal your breasts to make plenty of milk for your baby.
After about two to four days, your mature milk will replace colostrum and become plentiful. Your baby will continue to nurse often and start to gain weight.
WHAT ARE SOME SIGNS THAT MY BABY IS WELL FED?
It can be tricky to tell if disposable diapers are wet – after five full days, when copious milk comes in, they should be heavy. Many disposable diapers have a faint line down the middle which changes color when wet.
WHAT ARE SOME SIGNS THAT MY BABY MIGHT NOT BE GETTING ENOUGH MILK?
WHAT CAN I DO IF I DON’T THINK MY BABY IS GETTING ENOUGH?
Most breastfeeding issues, including low supply, can be solved more easily if they are addressed sooner rather than later. Even if you are unsure whether or not there is a problem, talking to a La Leche League Leader or lactation consultant will be helpful. You can achieve great peace of mind knowing that things are indeed going well, or, if they are not, you can get help to improve breastfeeding for you and your baby.
If you are worried your baby isn’t getting enough milk, consider hand expressing your milk. You can feed the expressed milk by teaspoon or cup, or directly into your baby’s mouth.
If your baby is showing signs of not getting enough milk, please do not hesitate to seek help from an LLL USA Leader or lactation professional and also your baby’s health care provider. Remember, you are the expert on your baby. If something doesn’t seem right, trust your intuition and reach out for help.
BREASTFEEDING IS MORE THAN MILK.
The physical act of breastfeeding is more than the quantity of milk that is supplied, as you will find when you hold your baby in your arms. It is warmth, nutrition, and love all rolled into one. Understanding and appreciating the signs of knowing when your baby is getting enough to eat is the one of the most important things you can learn. If you have any concerns regarding your baby, they should be addressed with your health care provider.
Is My Baby Eating (Color PDF), LLL USA
Is my baby getting enough Hand Out 1 (PDF), LLL USA
Is my baby getting enough Hand Out 2 (PDF), LLL USA
Thinking of Supplementing Hand Out (PDF), LLL USA
Well-Fed Baby Checklist Hand Out (PDF), LLL USA
Well-Fed Baby Checklist, Stanford Medicine
Is Your Baby Getting Enough Milk VIDEO, Global Health Media
How often should my baby feed?, LLLI
Baby’s Poop, LLLI
Breastfeeding with Hypoplasia: Insufficient Glandular Tissue, LLLI
Breastfeeding and Thyroidism, LLLI
How long do I need to track my baby’s feeds?, LLL USA Facebook
When will breastfeeding get easier?, LLL USA Facebook
IS YOUR CONCERN OR QUESTION NOT COVERED HERE?
Please contact a local LLL Leader with your specific questions.
Medical questions and legal questions should be directed to appropriate health care and legal professionals.
Page updated January 2020
Resource partially adapted from LLLI materials.
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