One of the most frequent and important questions new parents have is whether their baby is getting enough, either breastmilk or formula. And it is an important question.
When it comes to breastfeeding, it may be a little bit more difficult to tell, as we can’t really be sure how much our baby is taking. So here are a few indicators:
- Weight Gain: the average infant gains 4-7 oz per week, or a minimum of 1lb a month.
- Number of Wet Diapers: you’ll know your baby is getting enough milk if he/she has a minimum of 4-6 wet disposable diapers and 6-8 wet cloth diapers from day 4 on. But how do you know the diaper is wet? It might sound like a silly question, but the weight of the diaper doesn’t always change significantly enough to tell for sure – in the first month, it might be heavier by only 2tbsp, after the first month, by 4-6tbsp. An easier way to tell though, if you’re using disposable diapers, is to look for the wetness indicator line on the front of the diaper, which turns blue from yellow, after your baby had peed.
- Color of Urine: just the same as for adults, pale of water-colored urine is an indication that the baby is getting enough milk and is adequately hydrated. Darker color urine means the baby might not be getting enough – so contact your pediatrician.
- Number of Soiled Diapers: In the first day or two, you will find what’s called “meconium stool”, which is a greenish black, tarlike, very sticky stool. Transition stool is brownish, which then by day 5 usually turns into milk stool, a mustard yellow, seedy stool.
Bottle Feeding (Formula or Expressed Milk)
When it comes to feeding formula to your child, you should keep in mind the size of their tummies, to avoid overfilling them, and increase the risk of spit-ups and tummy aches.
In the first two days, your baby’s tummy is about the size of a cherry and has a capacity of approximately 5-7ml.
In the next two days, your baby’s tummy is about the size of a walnut and has a capacity of approximately 22-27ml.
During week one, your baby’s tummy is the size of an apricot and has a capacity of approximately 45-60ml.
From week two on, your baby’s tummy is about the size of a large egg and has a capacity of approximately 80-150ml.
Watch for baby’s cues to know how much your baby can take/needs.
How Do You Know Baby is Done Feeding?
This is easier with breastfed babies, as milk naturally comes slower from the breast than it does from the bottle. A good indication of your baby being finished is her letting go of the nipple and turning away. Now, your baby may fall asleep, and may not be done even if she has let go. Try switching her to the other breast (this is also a good way to increase milk supply).
Another option is measuring the baby before and after feedings. Most end-consumer scales though only measure to two decimals, so there is a margin of error of +/- 5mls. If you can live with that, and prefer knowing somewhat exactly how much your baby is getting, this is definitely a good option.
This is the most important part, if you’re breastfeeding, but even with formula feeding. Do NOT worry. If there is enough output (wet and soiled diapers), then there is enough input as well. If there isn’t enough output and your baby is not gaining adequate weight, still do not worry. Talk to your doctor. Your baby will be fine. Breastfeeding is a game of confidence, and worrying may negatively impact your milk supply. I get it. You want the best for your baby, want to make sure they’re okay. I’ve been there, and I am there right now (I use an app to track the amount of feeding, I measure her weight randomly before and after feeding and keep track of the number of wet and soiled diapers). Do what works for you, many moms just do it. It’s your baby, your body.
I personally also pump after most feedings, mostly to keep up my milk supply and to have some expressed milk in case I need to go somewhere and won’t be back by the time my baby is hungry. And I take fenugreek and blessed thistle, drink mother’s milk tea.
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