This is a common question among new breastfeeding moms. After all, you want to make sure that your baby's getting all the nourishment she needs and, well, you can't actually see how much milk your baby's drinking when you're nursing!
While most moms are able to provide their babies with all the milk they need, there are times when babies don't get enough. And when this situation isn't addressed, a baby can suffer from dehydration and failure to thrive, both of which are uncommon but serious.
Signs that your breastfeeding baby is getting enough nourishment:
- Your breasts feel softer after nursing, because your baby has emptied some of the milk that was making them firm.
- After a feeding, your baby seems relaxed and satisfied.
- After gaining back her initial weight loss after birth, your baby continues to gain weight. (Most babies lose between 5 and 9 percent of their birth weight and then regain it by the time they're about 2 weeks old.) A rough guideline: In the first month, your baby should gain 5 to 10 ounces a week; in months 2 and 3, she should gain 5 to 8 ounces a week; in months 3 to 6, she should gain between 2.5 and 4.5 ounces a week; and from 6 to 12 months, she should put on 1 to 3 ounces a week.
- In the first few days, when your baby is getting your thick, valuable colostrum, she may have only one or two wet diapers a day. After your milk comes in, though, your baby will wet six to eight cloth diapers a day, or five or six disposables. (Disposables can hold more liquid than cloth diapers.)
- In the first month, your baby has at least three stools a day, and they lighten to a yellowy mustard color by the fifth day after birth. She may have less frequent bowel movements once she's a month old. In fact, it's not uncommon for breastfed babies to skip a day of bowel movements now and then. Once she's eating solid foods, at about 6 months, she'll probably become quite regular and go back to having at least one bowel movement a day.