“Is my baby getting enough?” This question is one of the most common among nursing moms. Whether you’re a first-time mom, or this is familiar territory for you—no breastfeeding journey is identical, and questions will likely arise. Of course, you can always track how often you’re nursing. Now measuring how much milk your little one is consuming, that can be a bit trickier. Breast milk digests quickly and easily. At times you may notice your baby demanding back-to-back feedings, so much so that you’ll probably even start questioning if you’re producing enough milk to keep your baby healthy and satisfied. As stressful as this may seem, know that this is a common concern, and there are several ways to check whether your baby is getting enough liquid gold.
Your milk has arrived!
Drops of clear or yellowish colostrum are the baby’s first milk and are perfect nourishment for your newborn’s first few days of life. By day four, you should notice milk increasing in volume. Every mother is unique, this time frame can vary based on previous breastfeeding journeys, labor duration and even if you had a c-section or vaginal delivery. Your breasts will likely feel engorged, and you may leak in between feedings. If you notice little to no sign of milk coming in, you should contact your doctor or lactation consultant to discuss the reasons why your milk supply might be delayed.
Momma the diaper slayer.
You may find yourself going through diapers more than your wallet would like to admit. Luckily, this is a strong sign of a well-fed baby! Expect to go through 6-10 diapers a day. Several of those should be yellow or mustard colored poop. While diapers with only pee are a sure sign that your baby’s staying hydrated, make sure to be on the lookout for a poopy diaper every day, ensuring your baby is getting what he or she needs.
Try to listen for swallowing sounds. You’ll notice your baby’s jaw movements, and once milk letdown kicks in, you should hear swallowing or gulp-like sounds. If it seems as though your baby is dozing off on your breast, try to fit in some breast compressions, a gentle massage used to help express milk. Need a demo? Your local lactation consultant can teach you how to perfect this practice.
Fill up that onesie!
It’s entirely normal for your baby to lose 5-7% of his or her weight within a week of birth. After the first seven days, your baby should be gaining an average of 7-10 ounces per week for the first three months. That amount will slightly decrease somewhere in between 3-6 months. Pumping with your Spectra between feedings is a great way to increase your supply. Bottom line, stay on track with your wellness visits and check-ups to make sure your little one’s chart is where it’s supposed to be.
Let’s get milk drunk.
It’s a phrase we’ve all heard. When your baby is “milk drunk,” he or she is full and satisfied. You may notice your baby naturally falling asleep or letting go of the breast within 10 to 30 minutes of each nursing session. This is another strong sign of a full belly. On the other hand, a baby who looks distressed during feedings and sleeps all the time may not be getting enough milk.
Pump, pump, pump!
Pumping and storing your milk in between feedings is not only a great way to increase your supply, but it’s also an easy way to track how much your baby is eating if there’s a concern. Work on establishing a good milk supply first (the first 4-6 weeks after delivery) before introducing the pump. Many mothers find that pumping is a great way to fit in breaks right when they need them (hello date night)! Additionally, Mommas who are returning to work might want to get on a schedule, as well as build a supply for the transition.
On average a baby from 1-6 months old will intake an average of 25-30 ounces per day. Moms pumping for a missed feed at this stage will see 2-4 ounces combined. If pumping in addition to nursing at the breast, you’ll see about half of that. Pumping is never a good indicator of your milk supply, it simply tells us how much milk you can pump. You are doing the best you can mamas, and that’s definitely enough!
Spectra makes all of this possible, read our top tips HERE on best practices for pumping and storing!