Breastfeeding is typically working if your baby is gaining weight and has enough wet and soiled diapers, typically around 6 to 8 wet diapers and 3 to 5 soiled diapers per day. Alongside that, if your baby is feeding regularly, appears satisfied after nursing, and has good skin color, it is a good indication that breastfeeding is successful.
Breastfeeding is a natural and important process that provides numerous benefits for both the mother and the baby. It is essential to ensure that breastfeeding is going well to ensure the baby’s proper growth and development. Here are some detailed indicators and signs that can help you know if your breastfeeding is working effectively:
Weight Gain: One of the primary markers of successful breastfeeding is the steady weight gain of your baby. In the first few days after birth, it is normal for babies to lose a small amount of weight. However, after this initial period, they should start gaining weight consistently. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), babies generally gain around 4-7 ounces (113-200 grams) per week in the first few months.
Diaper Output: Monitoring your baby’s diaper output is another way to assess breastfeeding. In the first few days after birth, babies usually have a few wet and soiled diapers. However, as breastfeeding establishes, babies should have around 6 to 8 wet diapers and 3 to 5 soiled diapers per day. The color and consistency of the baby’s stools can also indicate adequate milk intake. Initially, the stools are dark and sticky (meconium) but gradually transition to yellow, seedy, and loose.
Feeding Frequency: Newborns generally feed frequently, around 8-12 times in 24 hours. Over time, the frequency may decrease, but babies should still have regular feeding sessions. If your baby is actively seeking out the breast, has effective and efficient sucking, and is attentive during feeds, it is a positive sign that breastfeeding is working well.
Satisfied after Nursing: A baby who is adequately breastfed typically appears content and satisfied after a feeding session. They may exhibit signs of relaxation, release the nipple on their own, and have a calm demeanor. It is worth noting that breastfeeding is not only about satisfying hunger but also a means of comfort and bonding for the baby.
Good Skin Color: Breastfeeding provides optimal nutrition for the baby, which is reflected in their overall health, including skin color. Breastfed babies often have a healthy complexion and a smooth, even skin tone. Their skin should feel soft and supple. However, it is important to remember that variations in skin pigmentation are normal and depend on genetic factors as well.
In conclusion, breastfeeding is considered successful when your baby shows consistent weight gain, has sufficient wet and soiled diapers, feeds regularly, appears satisfied after nursing, and has good skin color. As author and lactation consultant Nancy Mohrbacher stated, “Breastfeeding is a mother’s gift to herself, her baby, and the earth.” Embracing this beautiful journey provides numerous benefits that contribute to the overall well-being of both mother and child.
Interesting Facts about Breastfeeding:
- Breast milk composition changes over time, adapting to the specific nutritional needs of the growing baby.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life.
- Breast milk contains antibodies and other immune factors that help protect infants against infections and diseases.
- Breastfeeding has been found to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and certain childhood illnesses, such as asthma and allergies.
- Breastfed babies have a lower risk of obesity later in life compared to formula-fed babies.
- The act of breastfeeding releases oxytocin, a hormone that promotes bonding and relaxation for both mother and baby.
Here is a table summarizing the signs of successful breastfeeding:
|Indicators of Successful Breastfeeding|
|Weight gain within expected ranges|
|6-8 wet diapers per day|
|3-5 soiled diapers per day|
|Feeds regularly, around 8-12 times in 24 hours|
|Appears satisfied and content after nursing|
|Smooth and healthy skin color|
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Proper attachment during breastfeeding is crucial to avoid various issues such as soreness, inadequate milk intake, hunger, weight gain problems, and mastitis. To ensure correct attachment, it is important to position the baby’s nose directly opposite the nipple, tilt their head back slightly so that the top lip brushes against the nipple, and bring the baby to the breast with their head tilted back and chin leading. This allows them to take in a large mouthful of breast rather than just the nipple, drawing the breast deep into their mouth and preventing soreness while enabling them to consume an adequate amount of milk.
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Breastfeeding is going well if: Your baby is breastfeeding at least eight times in 24 hours. Your baby has at least six wet diapers every 24 hours. Your baby has at least three yellow bowel movements every 24 hours.
People also ask
We know breast milk storage can be confusing, so here is a more conservative approach that you can also go by (and easily remember): 4 hours at room temperature and 4 days in the refrigerator!