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How can I be sure my baby is getting enough?

I regularly get asked this question by mothers everywhere and the answer is quite simple. What you are looking for is that your baby is; awake and alert before a feed, then takes the feed well, settles between and has lots of wet and dirty nappies. If this is the case you can be pretty confident that they are getting enough. It can be really tempting to be guided by their weight gain and though this is an important part of their development the most important thing at this stage is that your baby seems happy and settled.

You can know that baby is getting plenty of milk from you when your breast feels soft and relaxed after a feed is complete. It is very important to finish feeding from one breast before changing over to the second. The part of the milk that comes through first is the “foremilk”. This is more watery than the second part of the feed and it quenches the baby’s thirst. The second part is the “hindmilk” which is the creamier part of the milk that has all the calories to satisfy your baby’s hunger. If you do switch too early then you can fill your baby up with lots of the watery milk and few calories. In this instance they will become full but not satisfied.

Try to be relaxed about breastfeeding, your baby will know when they’re hungry and will lead the way! When your baby demands a feed (they will hint with their feeding cues such as rooting and if you miss them, they’ll make sure you know what you want with a good scream!) I would say, indulge them, feed for as long as they want as often as they want making sure you ensure you have a good position and that the baby is latching on well (ask your midwife to observe a feed if you are unsure). Your baby will take themselves off the breast when they are satisfied. Also, bear in mind that your baby might vary in their own pattern of feeding from day-to-day. It’s all about supply and demand, your baby will feed more frequently for a while to build up the milk supply and then this frequency will settle as the supply increases. I would say to go with the flow, follow your baby’s lead and you’re on to a winner!

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