No matter how much you prepare for the arrival of your new baby, there is always some level of fear and hesitation, especially if it’s your first child. One of the most common concerns among new mothers is whether their little one is getting enough to eat.
It’s much easier to tell how much your child is eating if you bottle-feed, and though breastfeeding is ideal, it can be challenging in far more ways than one. In either case, you may still wonder whether your bundle of joy is getting the proper nutrition, so we’ve put together a list of signs that indicate your baby is getting all the nutrition it needs.
- Your Baby Pulls Away from the Bottle or Breast
Whether you feed your baby breast milk or newborn baby formula, they will eat heartily when first presented with the breast or bottle. As they eat and begin to feel full, however, their enthusiasm will dwindle until eventually, they pull away from the breast or bottle and refuse to latch on again. This is a good indication that they are satiated.
- Sleepy Head
It can be difficult for extremely young babies to stay awake long enough to get in a full feeding. If your newborn falls asleep during feeding and you feel they haven’t eaten enough yet, gently wake them up and encourage them to continue eating. If they have eaten heartily for more than 15 minutes, this sleepiness may be a sign that they’ve had enough to eat and are ready for a nap.
- Plenty of Diaper Changes
A healthy baby soils several diapers a day. If a newborn isn’t getting enough to eat, it can become dehydrated and malnourished. A clear sign that they’re getting enough nutrition, however, is the fact that you have to change their diaper often. If you’re changing 5-6 wet diapers and 2-5 poopy ones a day, your child is getting plenty to eat.
- Steady Weight Gain
It’s normal for newborns to lose a few ounces in the days following their birth. After that, however, they should begin to gain weight steadily each week. A healthy baby will gain up to 5 ounces a week in the first six months and 3.5 ounces a week through the eighth month.
If your baby isn’t gaining weight as it should, your pediatrician may recommend testing to determine if there are any underlying issues blocking the absorption of nutrition. Remember, every baby is unique, so these numbers are just guidelines, not hard and fast rules. It’s important to work closely with your child’s doctor to determine the best course of action.
- A Happy and Active Baby
A child that’s fed well will be active, happy, and content between feedings. If your baby cries a lot during feedings or seems hungry soon after, it could be that they’re not getting enough to eat. If you are breastfeeding, it’s a good idea to talk with your lactation specialist to determine if you’re making enough milk for your baby. If you’re bottle-feeding, it could be that the formula doesn’t agree with your child and you may need to change it. Again, your doctor can make recommendations here.
Every baby is unique, with some requiring more to eat than others. Most new mothers worry their little one isn’t getting enough to eat, which is why we put this list together. Hopefully, you’ll have a better understanding of what to look for when determining whether your child is getting the nutrition they need.