If you've chosen to heed the advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics and breastfeed your newborn, you might be happy with your decision but worried that your baby isn't getting enough to eat. Fortunately, your body is adept at producing the exact amount of milk your baby needs, and chances are, your little one is well-nourished. Watch for certain signs that your newborn is getting plenty to eat to help put your mind at ease.
You're Changing Diapers
If you're changing diapers on a regular basis, your newborn is likely getting plenty to eat. During your newborn's first week of life, he should have one wet diaper per day of age, according to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation website. For example, on his second day, he should have two wet diapers and on his fifth day, he should have five wet ones. Pay attention to soiled diapers, too. By the time your newborn is 7 days old, he should be having at least six yellow stools per day, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation reports.
Your Baby is Growing
Though your baby won't gain a staggering amount of weight in the first few weeks of life, you can expect that he'll gain several ounces by the end of the first month. Your baby will most likely have a checkup at 2 weeks of age, according to child development experts at the Kids Health website, and this is an ideal chance for his pediatrician to check his weight to ensure that he's getting enough to eat. Most babies lose a few ounces in the first few days of life, but they tend to return to their birth weight by the time they are 2 weeks old, according to the Ennis Pediatric and Adolescent Health Care Center website, and this is another positive sign that your baby is well-nourished.
He's Hungry A Lot
If it seems like your newborn is asking for more food shortly after finishing the last breastfeeding session, that's a sign that he's well-nourished. Newborn babies eat every two or three hours, so if your baby is hungry that often, it means he's likely getting plenty to eat. Many babies even eat every hour and a half or so, according to the Kids Health website. Feed your baby on demand, which means you let him nurse as soon as he's hungry. These regular feedings are a good clue that he's well-nourished.
When your baby is latched to your breast properly, you'll likely feel the milk flowing, which can help ease your mind that your baby is getting enough to eat. If your baby nurses at one or both breasts and acts satisfied, he's getting plenty. When your baby is awake, he should be alert and content, which is another sign that he's well-nourished. Always trust your gut, however. If you don't think your baby is well-nourished, make an appointment with his pediatrician to check. Call your baby's doctor right away if he hasn't had a wet diaper in the last 24 hours, if he's fussy a lot or doesn't seem to be eating much when he does nurse.
- Ennis Pediatric and Adolescent Health Care Center: Signs That Breastfeeding is Going Well
- Palo Alto Medical Foundation: Guidelines For Successful Breastfeeding
- Pediatrics: Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk
- Kids Health: Breastfeeding FAQs: How Much and How Often
- HealthyChildren.org: Warning Signs of Breastfeeding Problems
- Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images