How do we know that our baby is getting enough milk from breastfeeding?
It is recommended by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services that in the first few days, when you wife is in the hospital your baby should stay with her in her room if there are no complications with the delivery or with your baby’s health. The baby will be sleepy. Don’t expect the baby to wake your wife up when he or she is hungry. The mother will have to wake the baby every one to two hours to feed him or her. At first she will be feeding your baby colostrum, her first milk that is precious thick yellowish milk. Even though it looks like only a small amount, this is the only food your baby needs. In the beginning, you can expect your baby to lose some weight. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, this is very normal and is not from breastfeeding. As long as the baby doesn’t lose more than 7 to 10% of his or her birth weight during the first three to five days, he is getting enough to eat.
You can tell your baby is getting enough milk by keeping track of the number of wet and dirty diapers. In the first few days, when mother’s milk is low in volume and high in nutrients, your baby will have only 1 or 2 wet diapers a day. After her milk supply has increased, your baby should have 5 to 6 wet diapers and 3 to 4 dirty diapers every day. Consult your pediatrician if you are concerned about your baby’s weight gain. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, you and your spouse should visit your pediatrician between three to five days after your baby’s birth, and then again at two to three weeks of age.
|Baby’s Age||Wet Diapers||Dirty Diapers Color and Texture|
|Day 1 (birth)||1||Thick, tarry and black|
|Day 2||2||Thick, tarry and black|
|Day 3||3||Greenish yellow|
|Day 4||5-6||Greenish yellow|
|Day 5||5-6||Seedy, watery mustard color|
|Day 6||5-6||Seedy, watery mustard color|
|Day 7||5-6||Seedy, watery mustard color|
After you and your family go home from the hospital, your baby still needs to eat about every one to two hours and should need several diaper changes. The mother still may need to wake the baby to feed him or her because babies are usually sleepy for the first month. In the early weeks after birth, she should wake your baby to feed if four hours have passed since the beginning of the feeding.
If your spouse is having a hard time waking the baby, she can try undressing or wiping his or her face with a cool washcloth. If your baby falls asleep while breastfeeding, she can try breast compression. As her milk comes in after the baby is born, there will be more and more diaper changes. The baby’s stools will become runny, yellowish, and may have little white bumpy “seeds.” Overall, you and your spouse can feel confident that your baby is getting enough to eat because the mother’s breasts will regulate the amount of milk your baby needs. If your baby needs to eat more or more often, her breasts will increase the amount of milk they produce.
To keep up the milk supply when she gives bottles of expressed breast milk for feedings, the mother can pump her milk when the baby gets a bottle of breast milk.