Breastfeeding for the first time can be a daunting experience. I often get asked, “how do I know if my baby is getting enough milk from me?” and “How can I measure my breastfeeding supply?” Unlike formula feeding, breastfeeding cant be measured in metrics unless you are exclusively pumping your milk and feeding via a cup or a bottle. For the sake of this article, it will be assumed that you are feeding baby directly from the breast.
The first thing to measure when assessing for enough milk is wet nappies. Is your baby having plenty of wet nappies? Your baby only may have 1 or 2 wet nappies in the early days but this should increase as days go on. By day 6 baby should be having 6 or more wet nappies in a 24 hour period.
The second thing to notice is your babies dirty nappies. At first, their poo will be black and tar like. This is completely normal. Over the next few days it will become more of a green colour and then by day 5/6 it will be a yellow mustard colour thats quite seedy. By day 4 your baby should be producing about 3 poo’s per day. Please note that it can take up to 6 weeks for babies to develop their own poo pattern. Some breast-fed babies will only poo once every few days or some might continue to poo every day. You will get to know what is normal for your baby.
This leads me on to the third factor which is weight gain. If your baby is gaining weight you know that they are getting enough milk. You might feel like baby is constantly feeding from you, this is very normal. Babies don’t just feed for hunger, your baby is not starving because it is constantly feeding. They feed for lots of different reasons. Cluster feeding is very normal and it is babies way of upping your supply for a growth spurt, or just to help stimulate the milk. Remember the more your breasts are emptied by your baby, the more milk you will make and increase your breastfeeding supply. If you think that you need to up your supply, offer the baby the breast more often.
Sometimes concerns need to be followed through and support with your feeding journey will be needed. If you are experiencing any pain when baby is feeding, if baby is not gaining weight, If baby is not feeding 8 – 12 times in 24 hours, not having wet and dirty nappies or just not waking at night for a feed then please do reach out to your health care provider.
You can also have a look at my courses to see if there are any breastfeeding groups running that you can join or if you are not local to me you can seek one to one support via a zoom meeting. I would be happy to help.