How can I tell if my baby is getting enough to eat?
Real Mom Problem
“My baby is having plenty of poopy and wet diapers but is only nursing roughly 5-9 minutes on one breast about every two hours. I feel like it's such a short amount of time... I just feel he isn't getting enough”
- 1. Counting wet diapers is the best way to know if your baby is getting enough breastmilk
- 2. Instead of watching the clock, watch your baby for signs of hunger and offer your breast frequently
- 3. Babies' tummies are very small, so don't be surprised if their intake seems similarly small
Real Mom Solutions
Diapers are the only way to know. If baby has at least six wet diapers a day (soaking wet, or wet and poop count as two), then baby is getting enough regardless of behavior.
Count diapers. You want about six to eight in 24 hours. Wet is equivalent to four tablespoons of water, anything more wet is two. A dirty and wet diaper counts as two.
Don't Watch the Clock
The AMOUNT of time baby eats does not matter; it's the number of times and diapers. Offer every two hours during the daytime and every three to four hours during the nighttime. As long as baby does not act hungry, if baby nurses for five minutes, great, if baby nurses for 30 minutes, great. No worries about length of time.
Don't watch the clock. Keep the baby close to the breast as much as possible and feed frequently. You'd be surprised what the baby takes in during short little stints. The small bit they get when comfort nursing is still something in the belly.
If You're Worried...
If you feel baby isn't getting enough (Mommy instincts!) try nursing more often, supplementing with pumped breastmilk, or block feeding. Also, always nurse BEFORE offering solids. Your breastmilk provides more nutrition to baby than solids still.
As long as she is growing, meeting milestones, active, happy, healthy, etc., you don't have to worry about her weight. It means less than most people think. Not everyone gains at the same rate and not everyone can be average weight.
Let Baby Lead the Way
Baby knows what to do and how much to eat. Don't worry, especially if he is gaining weight and has sufficient diaper counts! Some babies are quick eaters, and remember, their tummies are only the size of a marble to a golf ball!