Whether you made the choice to breast feed or bottle feed your baby, one of the concerns you are likely to have is whether the baby is getting enough to eat and whether he or she is thriving as they should.
This is one of the aspects where bottle feeding beats breastfeeding – with bottle feeding, you know exactly how much a baby has consumed, and there is no guess work involved here. You know if a baby is eating normally, you know if he/she is having less than required and when the appetite increases or decreases.
Since you cannot measure the amount of milk that goes from the mother’s breast directly to the baby, gauging whether a breastfed baby is getting enough nutrition can be trickier.
There are several indicators that indicate whether a baby is getting enough.
Six to Ten wet diapers a day means that your baby is probably getting enough to eat. Also regular bowel movements will indicate adequate nutrition.
However these are not reliable indicators because some babies may not be getting enough even if there are 6 wet diapers a day.
Also many breastfed babies poop very irregularly, so other factors should be relied upon to gauge whether baby is getting enough.
This is usually the most reliable indicator of whether the baby is getting enough – steady weight gain means baby has enough to thrive. New borns tend to lose some weight (mostly water) in the first week or so after birth, but they regain this rapidly and from the 10th day on, they should start to gain more weight.
Does the baby seem to be feeding?
Make sure that the baby has latched on properly and is actually sucking milk and not chewing on the nipple. Look out for sounds of the baby swallowing and the proper motions of the mouth and jaw as he or she feeds.
Does baby seem contented?
If a baby seems contented for a few hours after his or her feed you can be reasonably sure they got enough. Also if a baby seems content and peaceful otherwise, and isn’t fussy or cranky there are also good indicators of adequate nutrition.
Check your breasts
If you breasts feel full before a feed and palpably softer or empty after, then you can be reasonably sure that baby had a good feed. Also if there are still drops of milk coming from the breast after the baby has finished feeding, then you know there is more than enough milk to nourish your baby.