Is your baby getting enough breast milk? Here's how you can find out!

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Dr Geeta Komar, Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia Asia Hospital, Bangalore talks about the signs that new mums should watch out for!

New mothers in India are under tremendous pressure that stems from a variety of factors such as breastfeeding, not getting enough sleep and other general newborn concerns.

Breastfeeding, in particular, can turn out to be quite a nightmare sometimes and some mothers would actually agree when we say that it is a struggle to breastfeed a newborn baby. The one question that haunts all new mothers day in and day out- how do I know if my baby is getting enough breastmilk?

Besides getting the right latch and find out that perfect feeding position, the one question that haunts all new mothers day in and day out- how do I know if my baby is getting enough breastmilk?

And breast milk is something you can't really measure, unless of course, you are using a breast pump. But there are various signs that can tell you if your baby is well-fed or not.

theindusparent spoke to Dr Geeta Komar, Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia Asia Hospital, Bangalore to find answers to all the various questions that new mums have on their mind related to their newborn's appetite.

How to make sure your baby is getting enough breastmilk?

"The only way to be absolutely sure that your baby is getting enough milk is to check his weight regularly. Remember that it is normal for him to lose 5-7 percent of his weight in the first couple of days. Doctors seldom become concerned until weight loss approaches or exceeds 10 percent. Most babies will regain their birthweight by 2 weeks and then usually gain about a 100gm or 150gm/week," says Dr Komar.

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Dr Komar says that there are various signs that clearly point out that you are not making enough milk for your baby. Here are some signs that you should consider:

  1. Your baby should have at least 6 to 8 very wet cloth nappies or at least 5 very wet disposable nappies in 24 hours. The urine should be odourless and clear/very pale in colour.
  2. Strong, dark urine suggest that the baby needs more breast milk and you should seek medical advice.
  3. A young baby will usually have 3 or more soft or runny bowel movements each day for several weeks. An older baby is likely to have fewer bowel movements than this. Formed bowel motions suggest that the baby needs more breastmilk and you should seek medical advice.
  4. Good skin colour and muscle tone. Does she look like she fits her skin? If you gently ‘pinch’ her skin, it should spring back into place.
  5. Your baby is alert and reasonably content and does not want to feed constantly. It is, however, also normal for babies to feed more frequently.
  6. Your breasts feel fuller before and softer after feeding.

"Other signs that affirm that your baby is getting enough milk include seeing a few drops of milk leaking from the sides of baby’s mouth and hearing baby swallow after every one or two sucks," says Dr Komar. All in all the baby should generally seem content during and after a feeding, she adds.

It might be possible that you notice a few of the above-mentioned signs in your baby and get worried, but that shouldn't be a major concern.

"If the baby is active and continues to thrive well, there is no need to worry as it is very difficult to know exactly what amount of milk your baby is receiving," she says.

Dr Komar also adds that there are lactating consultants at all major City hospitals who can guide you on the correct ways of breastfeeding.

"It might take you a couple of days before you become confident. But you should try," she says, adding that the decision to start the formula feeds should always be done in consultation with the paediatrician.

The red flags

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If you notice any of the following symptoms (especially if they occur concurrently with other “red flags’ such as low urine and stool output), contact your doctor ASAP, says Dr Komar.

  • lethargy
  • listlessness
  • weak cry
  • dry mouth or eyes
  • the fontanel (soft spot) on the baby’s head is sunken in or depressed
  • the skin loses its resilience (when you pinch it, it stays pinched looking instead of retracting)
  • fever
  • dark urine

Also read: 11 ways to make breastfeeding enjoyable for you and your newborn

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