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Is My Baby Getting Enough Breast Milk?

In most cases, you can learn if your baby is getting enough breast milk simply by watching for certain cues. For example, if your child is gaining weight and urinating at least six times a day, they're probably getting enough. If they aren't getting enough, don't be afraid to seek help -- a minor adjustment may be all that's necessary.

Should I Be Concerned?

While breastfeeding can be a wonderful and natural process, it is a large source of anxiety for many moms. One question leads to the next until it seems like what should be a simple process becomes quite complicated. One of the questions just about every nursing mother will ask at some point is, "How do I know if my baby is getting enough breast milk?"
 
Although this may be a learning process for new moms, even those who have breastfed before may have this question pop up every now and then. Because you can't see exactly how much milk your child is drinking while you are breastfeeding, you have to go by other external cues, such as things like weight gain, number of diapers, and the baby’s demeanor. But rest assured, there are several ways you can answer this question.
 

Where's the Milk? -- The Early Days

Some moms paint a picture in their head about how it will look once their baby is born and placed in their arms, with breastfeeding being easy and natural. Although ideally this would be nice, in many cases, this picture turns out a bit differently. 
 
As soon as your child is born, your breasts prepare for breastfeeding. It is often recommended to start breastfeeding as soon after birth as the baby is ready to nurse, which can mean within the first 30 minutes after birth. However, you may be wondering if there is anything coming out. You may notice just a few drops of a yellowish substance. But where's the milk?
 
Actually, this yellow substance is called colostrum, also referred to as "liquid gold," as it is packed full of important nutrients and antibodies (see All About Colostrum). It is high in electrolytes, rich in fat-soluble vitamins, and high in beta carotene. Because this substance is so rich in nutrients, it only takes a small amount to satisfy your newborn. But is this enough?
 
During the first 24 hours, most babies will only drink about 2 mL to 10 mL of colostrum in each feeding. This will increase daily, but those early days of breastfeeding will only consist of a very small volume of colostrum. It is normal for many mothers and family members to panic and think that this surely couldn't be enough for the baby to live on.
 
However, a baby's stomach is very small, with a capacity to hold only about 5 mL to 7 mL. If you give a newborn more than that, you may run into other problems like frequent spit-ups. Try to relax and rely on your body's natural ability to provide for your newborn. The baby's stomach capacity grows each day (to about 60 mL by day 7), which will line up nicely with your milk coming in.
 
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Breastfeeeding Overview Information

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