4 ways to know if your baby is getting enough milk

Breastfeeding or chestfeeding can be a major stressor for parents that leads to lack of sleep, mental health challenges, and decreased confidence. Cleo Guides share their tips for making sure baby is getting enough milk to ease parent concerns.

While the World Health Organization and American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies exclusively breastfeed or chestfeed for the first 6 months of life, nearly 2 out of 3 infants around the globe don’t reach this milestone. In the United States, 60% of lactating parents do not nurse for as long as they intend. This is often due to issues with lactation or concerns about infant nutrition and weight.

But studies show that these numbers can be improved when parents have the right access to postpartum and lactation support. At Cleo, we work with a team of clinicians and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants to give parents evidence-based recommendations that help their families thrive.

One of the most common concerns of new parents who are breastfeeding or chestfeeding is whether their baby is getting enough milk. There are 4 indicators to keep in mind:

  1. Your baby is gaining weight. It’s normal for your baby’s weight to fluctuate in the first days or first week of their life. A newborn may lose about 5-7% of weight by day 3 or 4 and be perfectly fine. However, if they have a weight loss of 10% or more, reach out to your lactation consultant and/or health provider. By day 10-14, your baby should rebound to their birth weight.
  2. Your baby fills diapers. Your baby’s diaper output is a reliable indicator that they’re getting enough milk. Most breastfed or chestfed infants wet 6 to 10 diapers and soil at least 3 diapers per day in their first month. Stool color is also important. While the first bowel movements are typically black and sticky, they should be green by day 3 or 4 and yellow by day 4 or 5. The consistency of the stools should also be seedy or watery.
  3. Your baby is swallowing. By day 3 or day 5 after birth, a baby’s behavior while feeding can tell us a lot. When your baby first latches, they will suck rapidly, which helps release the milk. They should then progress into a slow pulling motion as they swallow. You may feel this motion, and also see their jaw drop down and hear them gulp. If your baby isn’t getting enough milk, they might suck rapidly but not swallow rhythmically, or they may also take long pauses while nursing or repeatedly fall asleep on the nipple.
  4. Your baby needs 8-12 feedings in 24 hours. That’s every 2-3 hours during the day and every 3-4 hours at night. You will need to wake your baby if they are not eating during those time frames. The more frequently you feed in the early weeks, the more receptor sites you will lay down for milk production as your baby gets older. This is also important when your baby is trying to get back to their birth weight.

This post was created exclusively for Cleo Members by the Cleo Guide team. Cleo provides one-on-one personalized, proactive, clinically-designed support for planning, starting, and raising a family. Learn more about how Cleo can serve the working families in your employee population and how Sequoia and Virgin Pulse customers can get Cleo today.