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Breastfeeding a baby is not like using a bottle where you can simply look to see how much milk or formula the baby took. Breastfeeding can be something that mothers fear, simply because they feel that they lose some control and will never know whether or not the baby is eating enough or not.
Your body is made to adjust to what your baby needs so you do not need to worry.
For a breast feeding infant look for:
- Wet diapers
- Dirty diapers
- Urine color
- Weight gain
- Feeding frequency
- The feeding act itself
When looking for wet diapers, you want to make sure that you are seeing about five to six wet diapers each day. During the first few days of life however, you may only see one or two wet diapers per twenty-four hour period. This is because the baby is only getting colostrum from the breast at first.
The inspection of dirty diapers is to determine the quantity of the milk that the baby is drinking. In the beginning, typically just the first few days, the dirty diapers will have sticky black or green stools and then brown stools. After a few days have passed, the stools should be loose, yellow, and have a seedy appearance. This type of stool is referred to as milk stools.
Urine color should be pale in color. You may notice reddish or pink diapers the first few days because of the crystals that are in the urine. If this coloration continues for any longer than the first few days or is another dark color, make sure that you are consulting with your baby's doctor.
If your newborn drops up to nine percent of his or her birth weight, within the first few days of life, this should not alarm you, as it is normal. After that initial drop in weight, weight gain should be consistent, gaining about five ounces per week.
You also want to watch for the frequency of feedings. Breastfeeding newborns eat around eight to twelve times per twenty-four hour period. If your newborn is eating that often, it is probably safe to say that your infant is getting enough breast milk. Once the baby hits the two-month age mark, you might find that you are breastfeeding less often.
As for the actual act of breastfeeding, you want to watch and listen. The baby should be sucking deeply and then pausing every once in a while for swallowing. You might even see a little dribble of milk coming out of the corner of the mouth of the baby, which is another sign that the baby is getting milk and you have established good breast milk production.