Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Is my baby getting enough?

Whenever a breastfed baby is fussy, we all wonder if the baby is getting enough to eat. Remember there can be many reasons for a baby to be unhappy. Hunger is only ONE reason.

Here is how to know if your baby is getting enough to eat
Baby breastfeeds 8-12 times in a 24 hour period.
Baby has about 10 – 20 minutes of active sucking and swallowing on the first breast during a feed
Baby is content after feedings.
Baby has 6-8 wet diapers and 2-5 dirty diapers a day. Wet diapers may not feel heavy and urine should be very light yellow
Baby gains about 4-7 ounces per week or about 1 pound per month

Some reasons a healthy baby might want to breastfeed more
Growth spurt: This time of fast growth happens around 7-14 days, 4-6 weeks, 3 months, and 5 -6 months. The baby will want to breastfeed more during these times because they are hungrier. This higher demand lasts a couple of days. Your milk supply will increase to meet your baby’s need.
Teething - Breastmilk is soothing to the baby’s mouth
Snacking - Some babies like to have many short meals lumped together. So, a baby may have a 4-5 short breastfeeding sessions and then go for several hours without wanting to eat again. This is common in the late afternoon when your milk supply may be lower but very high in fat.

Helping your healthy baby get more breast milk
Make sure that your baby is positioned at the breast and latched on deeply so baby is breastfeeding well
Use breast massage during breastfeeding to squeeze more milk into your baby’s mouth.
Finish the first breast first. Your baby needs to breastfeed long enough to get the higher-fat “hindmilk” later in the feeding. The hindmilk keeps the baby fuller longer. Offer the second breast if the baby is still hungry.
Feed at least every 1 ½ - 3 hours during the day and once during a longer stretch of 4-5 hours at night. If your new baby wants to sleep for longer periods you will need to awaken him for breastfeeding. To wake a sleep baby you can
Take off clothes down to diaper
Change the diaper
Gently rub baby’s back , stomach, hands or the soles of the feed
Hand express a little breast milk onto your nipple to interest your baby in nursing.

Use bottles with Caution!
Giving a bottle of expressed breast milk or formula to “top off” a baby who stiol seems fussy after a breastfeeding may cause some problems. Your body is not being given the signal to make more milk, so your milk supply will not grow to meet the baby’s needs. Babies move their mouths a different way when they feed from a bottle. In the first month, many babies have a hard time learning both breastfeeding and bottle feeding. Often babies will prefer bottle feeding.

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