When newborns drink from bottles it is easy to see how much they are drinking, but if they drink breast milk straight from the breast it is harder to tell. In fact, it is probably one of the number one worries new mothers have. Their newborns lose weight after birth and we are told they need to gain it back within a certain amount of time. It always takes breast milk a little while to come in and in some circumstances it can take longer.
It’s good to know the signs of how to make sure the newborn is taking in enough breast milk. It’s good to learn them, know how to recognize them, and pass them along to your clients.
-Breastfed newborns usually eat 8-10 times per day. Some days they can eat more if they are cluster feeding. Just know that the baby shouldn’t be cluster feeding every day. They may have spurts where they do for a few days, but if it seems like all the newborn is doing is eating then she may not be taking in enough at each feeding.
-Keep track of the newborns BM’s. Newborns usually have 1 BM for each day of life (1 on day one, 2 on day two, and so on). BM’s should be yellow after day 4 and they should be normally having 3-4 BM’s daily at this point (or more!).
-Keep track of wet diapers. Newborns usually have 1 wet diaper for each day of life (1 on day one, 2 on day two, and so on). Once the mom’s milk comes in you can expect 5-6 (or more!) wet diapers per day. A wet diaper is considered to be just like putting 3 tablespoons of water into a clean diaper. This is good to do so you and your client has an idea what to look for.
-Keep track of the newborn’s weight gain. After the normal 5%-7% weight loss right after birth, the baby should be back up to birth weight by 2 weeks of age. Then they should start gaining 5-7oz each week.
-Mom’s breast should feel softer when she is done feeding.
-Newborn should seem content after each nursing session.
-Newborn is has alert moments, active and meeting developmental milestones.
If any of these things aren’t happening and you are concerned, it is good to chat with your client and have encourage them to let their pediatrician know. It is also helpful to have an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) who you can contact to help mom get through those early days of breastfeeding.