The rule is ‘baby knows best’. They will feed when they are hungry and stop when that hunger is satisfied. Despite that, many breast feeding mothers will worry their child is not getting enough milk. They may need reassurance.
If baby has regained their birth weight by the time they are two weeks old then you can be pretty sure that feeding is effective.
Apart from growing and gaining weight, there are other indications. Baby settling for a while after feeding is a good sign, as are being awake and alert for some of the time and waking regularly for feeds. Plenty of wet nappies are also a good indicator although some are so absorbent that it is difficult to tell. Placing a ball of cotton wool in the nappy and checking it when changing is a good way of making sure.
Regular bowel movements are another good way of checking. By the end of the first week, baby should be passing 2-3 substantial yellow stools per day. Persistent green stools are an indicator that baby is not getting enough milk.
Jaundice is another sign that baby is not getting enough milk. ‘Breast milk jaundice’ can occur when mother’s milk has not yet ‘come in’ as the limited contents of the milk may affect the baby’s liver. Some of the enzymes in breast milk are also thought to contribute to ‘breast milk jaundice’.