As a new mother, ensuring your baby feeds well and has enough nutrition is a top priority. But it can be hard to tell if your little one is getting adequate milk when they nurse. We help you spot the red flags or warning signs that can indicate breastfeeding problems.
A baby who is getting enough milk usually feeds well, seems content, sleeps well, and isn’t irritable. As a mum, if your baby is feeding well you should feel a sense of relief from the milk draining after each nursing session and shouldn’t experience problems like engorged breasts or pain during or after feeds.
Watch for these signs that your baby may be going hungry. Remember, these issues are often easily corrected with something as simple as changing breastfeeding positions, so stay alert and spot the issue early. After all breastfeeding benefits are many and you’d want your baby to make the most of it.
Your Baby Is Irritable
A hungry baby can seem crankier and cry more than normal.
Your Baby Doesn’t Sleep Well
Hunger can cause your baby to have disturbed sleeping, rousing often because they need to be fed.
Weight Loss/Not Enough Weight Gain
In the first two weeks after birth, your baby may lose a little weight and this is normal. After that, however, you should start seeing a steady rise in their body weight. If this doesn’t happen, your baby may not be getting enough milk.
Painful Feeds/Latching Issues
Breastfeeding is painful(this might be the result of an underlying problem like a latching issue that could also hamper the milk supply and intake or might make it too painful for you to keep nursing properly).
Breasts Not Drained
If your breasts are extremely engorged or remain hard and full even after feeding your baby, this could be due to insufficient milk intake by your baby.
Your Baby Sleeps Through Nursing Time/Nights
As with the soiled diapers, the extra sleep may seem heaven-sent, but your baby needs to feed regularly to get adequate nutrition. If he/she is sleeping through the night and missing nursing sessions very often, he/she may not get the milk needed to thrive and gain weight. If your baby is sleeping more than 4 hours at a stretch at night, gently rouse your little one and try to coax him/her to feed.
Very Short Or Very Long Feeds
If each nursing session is very short, your baby may not be feeding long enough to get the milk they need. This in turn will prevent your body from being able to stimulate more milk production to meet your baby’s needs.
A feed that lasts too long (50 minutes or more) could be a warning sign too. This means your baby isn’t able to get enough milk and spends longer either because your milk production is low or his/her suckling isn’t effective enough.
Few Wet Diapers
Few diapers might seem wonderful as an overworked new parent, but that’s unfortunately probably due to your baby not taking in enough fluid (milk) to generate urine at regular intervals. A soiled diaper is a useful indicator of how well your baby is feeding. More wet diapers mean a baby that’s nursing well. The average is 5 to 6 wet diapers and 2 or more stool-soiled diapers in a day.
If you notice one or more of the problem signs you’ve just read about, you may need to closely monitor each feed to see what can be changed or to identify a problem if any. If need be, speak to your gynaecologist or a lactation specialist about this to get breastfeeding tips and other help that you may need.
Learn about solutions to other pressing new-mum problems on the MamaXpert blog. Join this community of supportive women as you navigate this phase of your life with your little one.