You’ll soon notice it’s quite natural for moms the world over to keep an eye on the output of baby’s nappy – and it’s not just a somewhat gross pastime without purpose. “Without becoming obsessive about it, monitoring the frequency and quantity of bowel movements is one of the best ways to check if your baby’s getting enough milk,” advises Jack Newman, a Toronto-based pediatrician and a breastfeeding consultant for UNICEF. However, this can be a tricky measurement because what’s “normal” differs from baby to baby. “Some breastfed babies, after the first three to four weeks of life, may suddenly change their stool pattern from many each day to one every three days or even less. Some babies have gone as long as 20 days without a bowel movement. As long as the baby is otherwise well, and the stool is the usual pasty or soft, yellow movement, this is not constipation and is of no concern,” he explains.


If your baby is exclusively breastfed, there should be at least five wet nappies per day, according to Dr. Nan Jolly, a medical doctor and lactation consultant. If a baby is on solids, then there’s no need to panic if there are one or two fewer than this.


“Weighing your baby weekly for the first few weeks and thereafter monthly, or more often if you are concerned, is a good measure to tell if your baby is getting enough milk. Remember, it’s normal for babies to lose five to seven percent of their birth weight in the first few days after birth, but they should be back at their birth weight by two weeks.


A good way to know if the baby has drained the breast is simply by feeling. Once your milk is in, your breasts should feel fuller before feedings and softer after you nurse. Don’t expect measured expressed milk to gauge your milk supply accurately: This is inaccurate because expressing does not provide the same ideal circumstance as nursing, therefore you will underestimate your milk production.


Getting to know your baby’s hunger and fullness cues and feeding when she is hungry is key to determining whether he is getting enough milk. Don’t be too rigid about keeping to a schedule as this might affect your breast milk production. Feeding on demand is still the best way to stimulate production.

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