Is my breastfed baby getting enough milk?

Expert advice for making sure your baby is getting full feeds.

By New Kind

One of the challenges of breastfeeding (and there are many!) is that it’s hard to tell exactly how much milk your baby is getting at each feed. Especially in those early weeks, many parents experience stress and anxiety over this question. We remember those feelings like they were yesterday, and the constant googling about ounces and minutes per side didn’t help; they sent us down a spiral of obsessing over every feed -- definitely *not* how we imagined our breastfeeding experience! 

Know that these feelings are totally normal. As you get to know your baby, you’ll start to get a spidey-sense for how well your baby is eating at each feed. For the parents who started New Kind (that’s us!), working with a postpartum doula who also happened to be a Certified Lactation Counselor was a game changer. In this article, we’ll recap the advice we got from them that gave us so much peace of mind, along with tips for reducing your stress while breastfeeding. 

Here are some signs to reassure you that baby is getting plenty of nourishment: 
  • Your baby nurses 10-20 min per side AND you can hear swallowing.
  • Your baby has age appropriate amount of wet/poop diapers (6 wet diapers a day by day 4, 3 dirty diapers a day by day 4). Keep track of soiled diapers with an app or journal so it’s easy to review. 
  • The inside of their bottom lip is moist and smooth.
  • After 2 weeks old, baby is alert for at least 20 minutes a few times a day.
  • Baby seems satisfied and can go 2-3 hours between feedings after they’re reached their birth weight. 
  • Breasts are softer after nursing. 

Tips for reducing stress during breastfeeding

For some parents, breastfeeding isn’t all unicorns and butterflies. It can spark anxiety and fear, especially if you’re concerned about your baby getting enough to eat. Add in the chapped skin, clogged ducts, and cluster feeding...and it’s a lot. Here are a few tips for maximizing your comfort and finding some calm during those breastfeeding sessions.  

  • Get comfy: Support you and baby with regular pillows or a special breastfeeding pillow that allows you to fully relax during the feeding. 
  • Breathe deeply and relax your shoulders: Relaxing can actually help your letdown reflex. You may even feel it as a tingly sensation. 
  • Warm up before feeding: Use a heating pad or warm towel on your breasts before feeding. 
  • Create a soothing breastfeeding station: Include the basics like a big water bottle, burp cloths, and nutrient-dense snacks. And don’t forget some things to help you relax -- a magazine (remember those?), a book, a cozy blanket, a massager for your neck...whatever brings you joy! 
  • Enjoy the skin-to-skin time: Wear something that helps you and baby get that blissful skin-to-skin contact. It’s great for bonding, reducing stress, and establishing your milk supply. 
  • Enlist support. Feel like you spend your whole day getting ready to breastfeed, breastfeeding, and cleaning up after breastfeeding? Just because you’re the breastfeeding parent doesn’t mean you need to do it all yourself. Ask for the help you deserve, like help keeping your feeding station stocked, burping the baby, and changing diapers. Every little bit of support matters.   

When to seek additional support

Keep your pediatrician in the loop on your breastfeeding questions and challenges. During the first few weeks, you will be seeing your pediatrician often so that they can track baby’s weight gain, a key indicator that baby is eating enough. If you are still worried about baby’s milk intake or you’re having any kind of pain or discomfort that lasts more than a day or two, you should consider seeking help from a lactation consultant. Your pediatrician can refer you, or you can book a virtual consultation with one of our Certified Lactation Counselors at New Kind. Depending on your situation, it may make sense for you to meet in-person so that your baby can be weighed before and after nursing to measure exactly how much they’re getting. Our Lactation Counselors can help you understand your choices and provide practical, expert guidance in the meantime.  

Questions? Need support? New Kind is here to help!

New Kind is an easy way for new parents to get the expert support they need. We offer 1:1 consultations and a membership option with unlimited support. Our certified postpartum doulas and newborn sleep experts can help you build personalized sleep and feeding routines, get more sleep for the whole family, and answer all your questions about newborn care. You can chat with our experts on your schedule, over text, phone, and video. Try New Kind today.

You’ve got this, and we’ve got you.

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