Is my baby getting enough breast milk?

This is a very common question, especially when you first start breast feeding or you are a first-time mum. Although it is impossible to tell you how much a baby is drinking, there are positive signs which can reassure you that all is well. Poor feeding could be a sign that your baby is unwell.

When should you worry?

  • Baby not waking up on their own or you are unable to wake your baby up for feeds
  • Baby alert but breathing too fast to feed
  • Is pale, mottled and feels abnormally cold to touch
  • Has blue lips
  • Has a fit/seizure

You need urgent help.

Go to the nearest Hospital Emergency (A&E) Department or phone 999

  • Change in established pattern of feeding - feeding much less frequently or for a much shorter period of time
  • Failing to gain weight adequately, static weight or losing weight (most babies lose some weight in the first two weeks of life)
  • Less wet nappies than before (in the first 48 hours, your baby is likely to have only two or three wet nappies. Wet nappies should become more frequent, with at least six every 24 hours from day five onwards). Tip: It can be hard to tell if disposable nappies are wet. To get an idea, take a nappy and add two to four tablespoons of water - this will give you a better idea of what to look and feel for.
  • Baby seems drowsy (increasingly sleepy) or irritable (unable to settle despite distraction/feeding)

You need to contact a doctor or nurse today.

Please ring your GP surgery or call NHS 111 - dial 111

If symptoms persist for 4 hours or more and you have not been able to speak to either a member of staff from your GP practice or to NHS 111 staff, recheck that your baby has not developed any red features

  • Baby wakes up for feeds on its own and sleeps for 3-4hrs after a feed. In the early weeks, babies may sleep for less than 3 hours; this is normal.
  • Baby settles following a feed
  • Baby has a good strong suck and feeds in a calm relaxed way
  • At the end of the feed, your breasts feel softer and baby is content and comes off the breast on their own
  • Baby gains weight steadily after the first two weeks (it's normal for babies to lose some of their birth weight in the first two weeks)
  • At the beginning, your baby will produce a black tar-like poo called meconium. After about five or six days, they should pass at least two soft yellow poos. Breastfed babies' poo is runny and doesn't smell.
  • Addition information is available about infant crying and how to cope – click here.

Self care

Continue providing your child’s care at home. If you are still concerned about your baby, speak to your health visitor, local pharmacist or call NHS 111– dial 111

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