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Is My Baby Getting Enough Breast Milk?

The Milk Is In, But Is It Enough?

A woman's body is made to produce enough breast milk for a baby, and even for two or more babies. While that may be difficult to wrap your mind around, it is a fact that your body can provide all the milk your baby needs. But there are some things that have to happen to ensure that your milk supply stays in sync with your baby's needs.
The amount of milk that the breasts produce will be determined by how much the baby takes. This amount of milk will increase if the baby continually drinks more.
How often your baby breastfeeds is an important factor to consider when trying to determine if he or she is getting enough milk. In a 24-hour period, your baby should feed at least 8 to 12 times. While nursing, you can also look and listen to know if your baby is swallowing.
Although your mind may wander and come up with a million different possibilities of why your child may not be getting enough milk, there are basically two signs that are strong indicators that your baby is not getting enough milk:
  • Poor weight gain
  • Infrequent wet diapers and stools.
Your child's healthcare provider can help you gauge whether your child is gaining weight properly. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be seen by their healthcare provider between three and five days after birth. Although infants often lose several ounces during their first week, they should be at least back up to their birth weight by the end of the second week. Once your milk supply is established, your child should gain approximately one-half to one ounce per day during the first three months.
In general, if your baby gains less than 500 grams (approximately 18 ounces) a month during the first six months of life, or if he or she is below their birth weight after two weeks, then your child is not gaining enough weight.
Another good indicator of whether your baby is getting enough milk is to check the diapers. If your baby is urinating less than six times a day and the urine smells strong and is a deep yellow, it is a sign that your baby is not getting enough milk (keep in mind that this can sometimes be difficult to gauge with modern super-absorbent diapers). Also, there should be at least two or three stools during each 24-hour period for the first several months. If your baby has hard or dry stools, it may be a sign that he or she is not getting enough milk (see The Scoop on Baby Poop).
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