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58 – Great Expectations

breastfeeding your newborn

How do I Know the Baby is Getting Enough to Eat?

The most common concern that you will have is whether the baby is getting enough to eat. Unfortunately, there are no ounce markers on the breast for you to see the exact amounts he is taking in. This can be unnerving at times. There are many clues, though, that indicate that everything is going well.

Be attentive to the following: • Baby eating every 1 to 3 hours during the day.

• Sleeping no longer than 3 hours between feedings during the day. • Feedings are timed from the start of one feeding to the start of the next feeding.

• Should have no more than one 4 to 5 hour stretch at night frst week.

• Baby wetting diapers

• 1 diaper in the frst 24 hours after birth.

• 2 on the second day of life. • 3 on the third day of life. • 6 to 8 wet diapers of urine that is light yellow in color once milk is in greater supply. • Baby will be passing meconium for frst few days. Meconium is a newborn infant’s frst stools. It is thick, greenish-black and sticky. • Stool changing to mustard color, runny and seedy in texture once the milk is in greater supply – 3 to 4 of these stools per day in the frst month. May also stool a little after each feeding during the frst month.

If you have any concerns about how the baby is doing, call your baby’s healthcare provider.

Most offces will allow you to bring the baby in for a weight check. Sometimes that is all you need to make you feel better! Weight gain is an important clue that the baby is feeding well.

Other Positive Signs

• Audible swallowing – actually hearing the milk being swallowed is more obvious when mother’s milk is in greater supply.

• Breast feels less full after feeding. • Baby satisfed – falls away from the breast at the end of feeding. • Baby content between most feedings.

Expect initial weight loss of the baby after the birth, but should be back to birth weight by day 10. Weight gain of 4 to 7 ounces per week once milk is in greater supply.


Three to four days postpartum, your breasts may become heavier and swollen. This is caused by an increased fow of blood to the breast, swelling of the surrounding tissue and the accumulation of milk. The breasts may be swollen and uncomfortable for some, and you may experience a throbbing sensation and discomfort with the milk ejection refex, or let-down. Some will become only slightly full. As with labor, all women are different in their experience. Breast swelling usually lessens within 24 to 48 hours.

Allowing yourself to become engorged beyond the initial breast swelling associated with milk surge should be avoided. If the baby refuses to eat or you have to skip a feeding, then pump or manually express your milk. Engorgement sends signals to the brain to slow down milk production. As mentioned earlier, milk production is regulated by supply and demand. If you slow down your feedings, you will see a signifcant decrease in your milk production. If you are experiencing some engorgement, you may try pumping to soften your breasts a little before feedings.


Concerns Some Effective

Treatment Measures for Breastfeeding Mothers

• Wear a sleep bra even at night, but make sure it is not too tight (this tends to suppress milk production).

• Apply warm compresses 5 minutes prior to breastfeeding. • Nurse frequently.

• Manually express or pump milk to soften the areola and nipple – the baby cannot latch-on if it is too hard (common problem with breast engorgement). • Apply cold compresses to breasts after nursing to relieve the swelling and soothe the discomfort.

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