Is my breastfed baby eating enough?

This is a question most new moms and dads ask when they have a baby! When putting your baby to breast it’s hard to tell whether they are eating enough and can be stressful on a new parent.

Many new breastfeeding moms are concerned that their baby is not getting enough breastmilk after delivery. They look at me with this panicked look and say, “but I’m not producing milk yet! The baby must be starving!” Don’t worry mama! At this point your body is producing colostrum (the yellowish orange milk substance) which is very nutrient rich. Colostrum is essential for immune protection and contains increased levels of immunoglobulins and lactoferrin which is important to the infant with an immature immune system and provides protection right away! (Cool right?!)

Some moms see colostrum before their babies are even born, some after the baby is born. After delivery try squeezing your breast like you’re hand expressing, you should see the first droplets of this infant super food (Liquid gold)! Even though these are only droplets, this is plenty for your baby to be well fed. In the first 24 hours after delivery your new baby only needs 15-30mls! Another way to make sure your baby is eating enough is by counting diapers. In the first 24hours of life your baby should have 1 wet diaper and 1 stool. If its going in, it must be going out 🙂

These first 24 hours are essential for future milk production. Keeping your baby skin to skin and putting your baby to breast for on demand feedings or least every 2-3 hours, will stimulate your body to produce more milk.

By 48-72 hours you will see a change in your milk production from yellow to a bluish white. It is still important to feed your baby on demand or every 2-3 hours. Draining each breast sufficiently is also very important in maintaining your milk supply. When your breast is empty this sends a signal telling your body to make more milk. Doing this also gives your baby all of the good fatty milk that comes toward the end of a feeding. The fatty milk helps your baby gain weight and sleep longer (especially great for nighttime) Some babies will only feed from one breast at each feeding. This is completely normal! Just make sure to switch breasts at the next feeding.

Again, counting diapers is a helpful way to know your baby is being fed! On day 2, your baby should be producing 2 wet diapers and 2 stools. On day 3, 3 wet diapers and at least 1 stool. Seeing a trend??

By day 5 your baby should be having 6-8 wet diapers and at least 1 stool in 24 hours. If it helps, keep a feeding a diaper journal. When I had my babies I used an app to track my feedings and diaper counts. This was especially helpful for all those night feedings and diaper changes when I was half awake and couldn’t remember what I had done the next morning!

Just remember, you are doing a great job! You can do it! Hang in there! 🙂