How do I know if my baby is getting enough breastmilk?

As most of you know, working with Mom's post-partum I would say that this is one of the most common questions/ concerns that a new Mom has. I would also say that because of the concern, many Mom's end up "supplementing" and or giving formula exclusively for fear that their newborn is not getting enough breast milk.

Also, I want to point out quickly that I am in no way shape or form a "breastfeeding Nazi" but am here to help those who are wanting to breastfeed that may become deterred away from feeding due to lack of knowledge and support. Many Mom's are not able to breastfeed for one reason or another, but for those that are able. I would like to reach out to all of you!

Anyway, so how do you know if your little one is getting enough?

There are several ways to tell. The most "accurate" way is with a scale (Medela makes a really great one) you can weigh baby, feed baby, then weigh baby again and it will tell you precisely how much baby is receiving. Most hospitals have at least one of these in house, but you can also find these at outpatient lactation centers,WIC offices, and pediatrician offices. (But, let's be real....most of us don't have these in our back pockets) So, moving on...

You can also tell by the amount of stools/wet diapers that your little one is having. Your little one should have 1 wet and 1 dirty diaper the first day of life, 2 wet and 2 dirty the second day, and so forth up until day 5. One day in "newborn life" is from the time they were born until the following day at the same time. Also, your little one's urine should be more pale or clear versus dark yellow.

Another way you can tell is expression, you can manually express your milk/colostrum and syringe feed your little one. Therefore you can actually "measure" the amount of milk that they are receiving. This is hard to do at the beginning when establishing a milk supply, but can be a reliable method.

It is normal until your milk supply has "came in" for your little one to lose weight. Colostrum is very important for the baby and has lots of nutrients. However, until the fat content that your breast milk provides comes in full force, your newborn may lose weight at the beginning.

What can I do to help my milk let down?

Warm Compresses (newborn diapers work great for this, soak two underneath warm water and then place them opened over our breast, they cup very nicely to breast as well.)

Warm Shower

Breast Massage- Massage the outer ducts of your breast.

Skin to Skin- Holding your baby skin to skin with you will promote let down, remove all of your newborns clothes and place your newborn on your chest.

Remember, your little's one stomach is the size of a marble (5-7ml) on day 1-3 and then expands to a ping pong ball (20-25ml). Many new parents are actually overfeeding their babies when they feed with formula. Then the baby ends up "spitting up" because they are overfed. The main thing is that your baby is latching on, sucking and swallowing (you can listen for the sound of them swallowing) at the breast, and falling off the breast either asleep or content.

Your little one may want to feed very often or may go longer between feedings. Regardless, breastfeeding is "on demand" and we do not use the clock to determine feeding times. You want to feed at least every 2-3 hours but if baby wants to feed prior to that time it's not because they are not getting enough it's because they are telling your breast to produce more and training them to meet their demands.

Comments? Questions? Concerns? Post Below!


  1. i just found your blog, and this post is incredible helpful, but i just wanted to add that the Feed your baby every 2-3 hours is not accurate for every single baby. both of my girls fed every 4-5 hours for about 5 minutes a breast, and they both gained weight at a healthy rate and grew to be wonderful young girls (1.5 and 3) is certainly a good guide point, but i remember with my first i was so stressed because i could not get her to eat "enough" until i decided to let her lead me and found out that her "enough" was different than what was suggested.

  2. Your right Hannah Mueller, I need to correct this blog post. Every 2-3 hours is ideal in the hospital setting and the first week at home to make sure jaundice levels are low (the more the baby eats, the more the baby poops, and thus lower jaundice levels). Also, encouraging frequent feedings for the first week helps prevent your little one from losing too much weight early on. Once baby has picked up some of his/her birth weight and does not have issues with jaundice and is feeding well at the breast you can feed "on demand." Meaning, if baby wants to go longer between feedings that is OK and if baby wants to feed more often that is OK as well. :) Watch the baby NOT the clock! :) Thanks for the comment, i'm glad you stopped by!