What are the signs baby isn’t getting enough breast milk?

A doctor helps answer this critical question for moms

Breastfeeding provides loads of well-documented benefits for babies and moms. One common question many moms have about breastfeeding is, “How can I tell if my baby is getting enough milk?”

It’s a fair question. After all, it’s not like you’re using a bottle with ounces marked clearly on the side that let you see exactly how much milk your baby takes in with each feeding.

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Elizabeth M. Doyle, M.D., Norton Children’s Medical Associates – Shepherdsville and Norton Healthcare’s system medical director for lactation, offers these useful guidelines to help moms know when their babies are getting enough nutrition and liquids from breastfeeding:

  • Baby is feeding a minimum of eight times per day; optimal is 10 to 12 times per day.
  • Infant is active and alert.
  • Infant actively feeds at breast, with sucking and swallowing for at least 10 minutes.
  • Baby is producing seven to eight wet diapers per day.
  • Baby has met the general “4-by-4” goal to produce four stools by day four of life.
  • Breasts feel full before feeding and empty afterward.

Dr. Doyle reminds moms — especially new moms — that breastfeeding can look and work differently for every mom and baby.

“Never be shy about asking questions when it comes to your baby’s well-being,” she said. “If you think something isn’t right with your baby, call your pediatrician!  You know your baby best.”


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