Signs That Your Baby Is Getting Enough Breast Milk

Topic Overview

You can be reassured that your baby is eating enough and is well nourished when he or she:

  • Shows an eager desire and wakes up frequently to breast-feed.
  • Rhythmically sucks and swallows milk. The fronts of your baby's ears will move slightly, and you usually will hear swallows.
  • Breast-feeds at least 15 to 20 minutes on each breast at each feeding and is content when finished.
  • Feeds at least every 1 to 3 hours during the first 2 months. Wake your newborn every 2 to 3 hours for a feeding during the first few weeks, if necessary. After 2 months, your baby will be able to empty the breast more quickly. Feedings will then occur less often, about every 3 to 5 hours, and take less time.
  • Wets about 6 to 8 cloth diapers—or 4 to 6 disposable diapers. Newborns younger than 2 weeks should have at least 1 or 2 bowel movements a day. Babies older than 2 weeks can go 2 days and sometimes longer between bowel movements. It’s usually okay if it takes longer than 2 days, especially if your baby is feeding well and seems comfortable, and his or her stools are very large and soft when they occur.
  • Grows at a normal rate as judged by regular increases in weight, length, and head size. Your baby should appear healthy and happy with good muscle tone, healthy skin, and good color.

Most mothers become more confident that their babies are eating well after a few weeks of breast-feeding. It usually takes some time to establish a routine. You will learn to recognize and respond to your baby's feeding signals.

Credits

Author Sandy Jocoy, RN
Editor Kathleen M. Ariss, MS
Associate Editor Terrina Vail
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Anne Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Deborah A. Penava, BA, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Updated May 4, 2009

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