How do I know if my exclusively breastfed baby is getting enough to eat?
The number one reason women stop breastfeeding is “Misperceived low milk supply syndrome” or in other words, “too much information/over thinking”. Often, the more information you have at your fingertips, the more you doubt your own instincts. Before technology, women would ask their friends, mother, sister, aunt, cousin, grandmother for guidance through pregnancy-birth-breastfeeding & parenting. Putting that into numbers, she may have received advice from 30-40 women. Fast forward to today’s techno savvy mothers who are soliciting feedback online and she would have 10x the amount of input.
So how does a new mother with sensory overload undoubtedly know her baby is thriving??
Here I will explore methods to help unravel the web of confusion. Start by asking yourself these questions before turning to your online companions:
Based on baby’s first 4 months of life:
1. Is your baby gaining weight? After the initial 7-13% weight loss
2. Eating a minimum of 8 times per day? Including cluster feeding
3. Does your baby have the appropriate amount of output? Minimum of 6 wet diapers and 2 stools every 24 hours (after day 5)
4. Is breastfeeding comfortable? Tender during the first 2 weeks can be normal.
5. Did you notice changes to your breasts after delivery? Fuller, heavier, engorged?
6. Can you notice when baby is swallowing? Audible?
7. Is baby content after feeding, most of the time? It is normal for baby to have some fussier times each day. Cluster feeding can fall under this time as well.
If you can answer yes to numbers 1-3, rest assured, your baby is getting enough!! If you answered no to 4-7, seeking out advice from breastfeeding support groups (with trained help) or a professional lactation specialist (IBCLC), should help.
If you answer yes to all 7 questions, congratulations- you are doing excellent!!
If you answer no to any of the first 3, work with a professional lactation specialist (IBCLC) to help get you on track.
Remember, tune into your “mothering instincts”, seek out supportive-tangible-successful breastfeeding moms-have a professional IBCLC on hand for critical questions, find a pediatrician trained in breastfeeding and keep it simple. Most important, relax and enjoy your baby.
Please seek the advice of a Healthcare Professional if your baby is not meeting weight and output goals!
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