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Has my Baby Had Enough Milk?

Have they slept enough? Are they warm enough? Have they fed enough? You’re not alone in questioning if everything you are doing is enough for your baby! Whilst it can sometimes seem like everything in the world of newborn babies is complicated and difficult to understand, here is a ‘cheat sheet’ way to tell if your baby is feeding enough.

How can I tell if my baby has had enough milk?

If you are bottle-feeding your baby, this question might not have crossed your mind as you see the bottle empty with every feed and read the guidelines on the tin telling you how much milk should fill these bottles at a time! Now, breastfeeding mums don’t have this visualization to help; it would be great if we all had a gauge on the side of our boob that went down as they fed so we knew exactly how many milliliters or ounces they had had but unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.

From a health professional’s point of view, we’re looking for exactly the same things in a breastfed baby as a bottle-fed baby to know that they’ve had enough milk:

Are they gaining weight?
Are they having regular wet and dirty nappies?
Are they settling between feeds?
If they’re doing all those things, then they are having enough.

Did you know you cannot overfeed a breastfed baby?

Sleeping does NOT mean finished
When you breastfeed, the baby is often tucked right into you where they’re warm, snuggly and content. Because of this, they often just fall asleep before they’re actually full and finished feeding. Despite how cute this can be, it’s your job to annoy them and wake them back up!! You need to blow on their face, tickle their and hands- do anything to keep them awake and feeding.

Why would I want to wake my (finally) sleeping baby?!

The milk that they’re drinking from your breast starts off thin and watery which is produced to quench their initial thirst. As your baby continues to feed, the milk becomes fattier and thicker, turning into more of a meal. This is the milk that is going to keep your baby full and settled for longer periods of time! This is why it’s so important to ensure your baby is actually sleeping because they are full and not just because they are comfy. If they haven’t had enough of the ‘meal’ milk, you might find they wake again sooner then you want them to when they realize they’re actually still hungry.

What if my baby wont wake up again?

I’ve even known people to stop feeding and change their nappy to rouse them, then put them back to the breast. They keep doing that until they absolutely refuse and they become what we call ‘milk drunk’. Once they’re in this ‘drunken’ state, no matter how hard you try, they will not be woken and will refuse the breast; often, this is a good sign that your job is done (for now!).

frequently asked questions

No! It is impossible to overfeed a breastfed baby- but it is if they are bottle-fed so stick to the guidelines!

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