As new parents, one of the many concerns you’ll have during the first year of your baby’s life will be whether or not he or she is getting enough milk to drink. You’re probably also wondering if your baby drinks enough milk, but maybe too embarrassed to ask your pediatrician or other health care, provider. The good news is that doctors are quite accustomed to answering this question, so there’s no need to feel embarrassed! Here are some common causes of insufficient milk intake and possible solutions you can try at home.
How to tell if the baby is Underfeeding
It’s easy to see when your baby is getting too much, but it can be trickier to gauge whether or not she is getting enough. Often, people assume their baby is breastfed enough because she has no trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night—but breastfeeding requires more frequent feedings (8-12 times a day) than formula feeding (5-6 times a day).
If you think your little one isn’t drinking enough milk from Mom, try waking her up at night for an extra feeding. And if you are still concerned after talking with your doctor about her weight gain, talk to someone who works with breastfeeding moms to make sure you’re doing everything right.
What to do if your baby is not drinking enough milk
Reasons why babies may not be drinking enough milk include wet-nurse syndrome or a decrease in the mother’s breast milk. Babies need at least four to six ounces of breast milk per pound of body weight each day to grow properly. If your baby is less than three months old, he needs eight ounces per pound daily; if he is older than three months, he needs between five and six ounces.
A baby with wet-nurse syndrome is failing to consume enough nutrients because you are not producing as much milk as he needs to thrive. Visit a lactation consultant for suggestions on how to increase your supply or use supplemental formula if needed.
The baby is Not Able to Access Food
If you can see that your baby’s mouth isn’t aligned correctly with your nipple, or she just isn’t able to latch on, there are several steps you can take. Lactation consultants will be happy to help you with a proper latch, but many of these situations can be remedied simply by the repositioning baby.
You may also want to consider using breast pumps (either manual or electric) to empty your breasts so that they don’t become too full and engorged—the hormone prolactin is what prompts milk production, which leads to more milk available for the baby. On that note, make sure you are eating enough fiber as well; lack of fiber can result in constipation—which means less poo!
Some Common Causes of Low Milk Intake in Babies?
- Low milk supply. If a mother’s milk supply is low, her baby will be less likely to finish a feeding session with a full belly, or emptied breast.
- To increase your milk supply, check out our post on common causes of low milk supply. 2. Infrequent feeding sessions. If you’re feeding your baby too infrequently or not stimulating him to feed more frequently (through things like skin-to-skin contact or pumping), he may have trouble finishing his meal in one sitting at each feeding time… 3. Thrush: An overgrowth of yeast known as thrush can cause painful irritation in babies’ mouths which may interfere with their desire to nurse frequently.
What can I do at Home to Ensure my Baby Drinks Enough Milk?
First off, you need to realize that most parents are over-concerned about their baby’s milk intake. If your baby is nursing well, has a wet diaper, is growing well, and is not fussing for long periods periods during or after feedings, she’s probably getting enough to eat.
There are several reasons why some babies drink less than others — often it’s as simple as a baby being a speed eater. (If your baby isn’t drinking enough, talk with your pediatrician.)
Baby Has an impaired Ability to Suck
Babies have an instinct to suck. If the baby has no difficulty sucking on a pacifier or thumb, there may be nothing wrong with his/her ability to suck. If the baby is unable to suck anything, an issue with one of his/her senses (hearing, sight, smell, or touch) could be preventing him/her from being able to do so.
More importantly, babies must get enough milk during their first few months of life because they’re at risk for developmental problems if they’re not getting enough nutrients. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have that your baby is not drinking enough milk.
Baby is not Offered Enough
Breastfeeding is a learned behavior. If you don’t know how to breastfeed correctly, then your baby won’t learn either. Many new moms are at first confused about how to help their baby latch on correctly and nurse for more than just a few minutes.
If you’ve seen a lactation consultant or have gone through breastfeeding classes with other moms, that’s great! Even if you haven’t, there are plenty of free tutorials available online. Watch them now and get comfortable with breastfeeding before your little one arrives. You’ll be glad you did when your newborn is hungry but fussy—you’ll be able to calm him down quickly!
Encourage Breastfeeding When my Baby doesn’t seem Interested
There are many reasons why a baby may not be drinking enough milk, but one of them is that your breast milk simply doesn’t taste good. That’s not to say that it will ever be unpalatable, but if your milk isn’t as rich or creamy as it was during pregnancy (or if you’re feeling like you might have oversupply issues), then it’s time to change things up.
Breastfeeding rarely happens without any hiccups along the way, so ask for help when you need it–not everyone is going to know what they’re doing with an uncuddly newborn! Ask a lactation consultant or counselor at your doctor’s office what kinds of changes you can make to enhance your breast milk’s flavor.
Are There any Foods I can Give my Breastfed Baby
Formula, or artificial breast milk, is still your baby’s best bet. These pre-made products are designed to meet specific caloric needs, which means they’ll probably have all of the nutrients he needs as well. Also, most breastfeeding experts will tell you not to give your baby any other type of food until he’s at least six months old. In fact, in some cases, you can introduce solid foods as early as four months—but it should only be done with a doctor’s supervision (and/or after consulting with a nutritionist). Why?
If your baby is not drinking enough milk, it could be for a variety of reasons. Breastfeeding is natural, but that doesn’t mean it comes easy to everyone. Sometimes you need to take a step back and reevaluate whether there are issues at play with your breastmilk or lactation process.
If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your doctor or seek medical advice. In most cases, there are simple solutions to breastfeeding problems—and with so many benefits on both sides of the equation, it’s well worth taking steps toward success.