Breastfeeding sometimes makes it difficult to know how much breast milk your baby gets at a feeding. But with careful observation, you should be able to ascertain if he’s getting enough breast milk when he eats. A baby who is not getting enough food will generally let you know he is dissatisfied by the way he acts.
Watch your baby’s behavior to determine whether she seems satisfied. If she cries frequently, both before and after feedings, or if she refuses to latch on to your breast because she seems frustrated, she may not be getting enough milk. A baby having difficulty at the breast may also need to suck for long periods as she tries to get enough milk, according to the World Health Organization website. Conversely, if your baby seems satisfied after a feeding and doesn’t cry from hunger for at least one to two hours, she probably received enough milk.
Check your baby’s urine output to determine whether he’s eating adequately. If your baby is getting enough breast milk, he will have at least six wet diapers in a 24-hour period. The urine will appear pale yellow in color -- not concentrated -- states the American Academy of Pediatrics HealthyChildren.org website.
Note the frequency and consistency of stools to determine whether your baby is receiving enough breast milk. A satisfied baby should have three or four stools every day and they should have a loose consistency and yellow color.
Observe your baby while she breastfeeds. You should hear swallowing and you could also see a small amount of breast milk leaking around your baby’s mouth as she eats.
Note your breasts for fullness to monitor your milk supply. Before you feed your baby, your breasts should feel full and after you feed him, they should feel softer, states pediatrician and author William Sears with the Ask Dr. Sears website. Try to express milk to see whether breast milk expresses easily. An absence of fullness or expressed milk could indicate supply problems, states the WHO.
Monitor your baby’s weight. Although it’s normal for a newborn to lose weight initially, weight loss should not exceed seven percent of birth weight, according to the AAP. Weight gain should begin several days after birth, and by 1 to 2 weeks of age, your baby should surpass his birth weight. The average weight gain for a breastfed baby should be between 4 and 7 ounces per week or at least 1 pound per month.