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Parents with newborn

Breastfeeding your baby – How to know if he/she is getting enough milk?

How do I know if my breastfed baby is getting enough milk?

Many parents worry if their baby is getting enough to eat at the breast.  This is a very common concern in the first couple weeks of life. Unlike bottle fed babies, we often don’t know exactly how many ounces of breast milk a baby receives at the breast.  To help us determine if your baby is eating enough, we look for several signs of a good feeding:

  1. A good latch: a good latch should be deep and feel pain-free or nearly pain-free.  Your baby’s lips should be flanged (rolled out) and the mouth open to 140 degree angle.  Your baby should be latched onto not just your nipple but also have all or most of your areola in his mouth.  Your nipple should not be misshapen or creased after the feeding.  If breastfeeding hurts, please seek help ASAP.
  2. Feeling a strong “tugging” or “pulling” sensation, NOT biting or pinching.
  3. Consistent sucking with only brief pauses.
  4. Hearing your baby swallow at least every third suck once your milk comes in, usually 3-5 days after birth.
  5. Your breasts should feel softer and lighter after your baby has fed.
  6. Your baby nurses 8-12 times per day and seems satisfied after most feeds.
  7. Your baby is having appropriate urine and stool output for his age.  Babies should be having 1 wet diaper on day 1, 2 wet diapers on day 2, 3 wet diapers on day 3, 6+ wet diapers on day 4 and on.
  8. Minimal weight loss (<10% of birthweight) the first few days of life and a return to birth weight by 2 weeks of age.

Who should I contact if my baby is not breastfeeding well or I am having pain during breastfeeding?

Please contact your baby’s primary care office for concerns regarding excessive weight loss, poor weight gain, drowsiness, poor urine output, or minimal stooling. Your baby’s primary care provider may wish to see you first or may immediately refer you on to an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

An IBCLC is a healthcare professional who specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding.  An IBCLC can help if you are having pain with breastfeeding, persistent difficulty latching, concerns about your milk supply, concerns about your baby’s growth, anxiety regarding breastfeeding, or concerns about returning to work while breastfeeding.  If you would like a lactation consultation with an IBCLC, please schedule an appointment with Kari Waddell, FNP, IBCLC by contacting the Boulder Medical Center Pediatric Department – Foothills. Tel: 303-938-4750.

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