Many parents worry if their baby is getting enough to eat at the breast. This is a widespread concern in the first couple of 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:
- 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 a 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 as soon as possible;
- Feeling a strong “tugging” or “pulling” sensation, NOT biting or pinching;
- Consistent sucking with only brief pauses;
- Hearing your baby swallow at least every third suck once your milk comes in, usually 3-5 days after birth;
- Your breasts should feel softer and lighter after your baby has fed;
- Your baby nurses 8-12 times per day and seems satisfied after most feeds;
- Your baby is having appropriate urine and stool output for his age. Babies should have one wet diaper on day one, two wet diapers on day two, three wet diapers on day three, and so on;
- Minimal weight loss (<10% of birth weight) the first few days of life and a return to birth weight by two 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 PCP can help if you are having pain with breastfeeding, persistent difficulty latching, questions about your milk supply, concerns about your baby’s growth, anxiety regarding breastfeeding, or guidance about returning to work while breastfeeding.
Boulder Medical Center pediatrics department provides personal, high-quality, and compassionate care to present and future generations, from newborns to young adults. With clinic locations in Boulder, Longmont, Louisville, and Erie, Colorado.
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