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Ask the Expert: Babies and Breastmilk

ShariCrisoMainA: This is something almost all new parents worry about when they first get started with breastfeeding. Some people think that by looking at the clock, they can determine whether their baby is getting enough milk. But the clock can be misleading-for example, your baby might not be getting proper flow because she's improperly latched onto your nipple.

The good news is, thereare several more accurate ways to tell whether your baby is getting enough breast milk.

" First, feel your breast at the beginning of the feeding to determine how full it is. If your breast is noticeably softer at the end of the feeding, you know your baby got some nourishment.

" Second, listen for audible swallows: If you heara lot of swallowing going on throughout the feeding, that's a sign thatyour baby is getting a lot of breast milk.

" Third, look to make sure your baby appears satisfied when she's done at the breast, as opposed to hungry. Chances are, a baby who looks satisfied is getting enough milk; in fact, most babies won't be quiet if they're still hungry.

" The fourth, and most important, indicator is a wet diaper. You'll be looking for at least six to eight wet diapers in a24-hour period. This is a sure sign that your baby is well hydrated andgetting enough milk.

Be sure to check for all the signs above, and visit your pediatrician as recommended for weight monitoring (breastfed babies typically gain between four and eight ounces per week in the beginning). Finally, try to remember that breastfeeding is a natural process. After all, humans have been breastfeeding our babies longer than we have had formula, scales, and even clocks.

Shari Criso is a registered nurse, certified nurse midwife, international board certified lactation consultant, and nationally recognized parenting educator. She is also the owner of Birth Boutique, a specialty store and learning center for new and expectant parents based in Denville, NJ. Most importantly, she is a loving wife and proud mother of two amazing daughters, Jade and Talia.
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