How do you know if your baby gets enough milk?

How do you know if your baby gets enough milk?

One of the most common fears of newborns’ mothers is milk shortage. How do you know if your baby gets enough milk? Babies are believed to get anxious when they are hungry. However, malnutrition is not always revealed through baby’s nervousness.

We will explain in this article how to understand if you have enough milk and what to do to make your baby always well-fed and contented.


Causes of malnutrition 

First, let’s talk about possible causes of malnutrition.

Mother’s anxiety and milk quality

Milk quality plays the most important in feeding a baby. Strange as it may seem, it is not revealed in the amount of proteins, fats and carbs, and even in their ratio. Concentration of “mood hormones” is the most important thing in milk.

Production of “stress hormones” increases in your body and they are automatically transferred to milk if you:

  • Worry a lot
  • Often feel tired
  • Do not get enough sleep
  • Have no time for rest

Nature arranged it so that mother’s milk is not formed (figuratively speaking) in the breast, but in the mother’s head or rather her heart.

Let’s try to imagine how long a baby can safely drink “anxious” milk?

Out of curiosity, a lot of mother made such experiment: they expressed some milk in a cup to taste it. It was observed that normal milk tasted sweet. “Stressed” milk tasted sourish. Perhaps, that is why in former times people said “mother’s milk turned sour”.

If you somehow manage to cope with fatigue and anxiety every other time, the taste of milk is likely to change. The baby will of course signal you about it using all available means: they will start turning away, stop nursing, groan with displeasure and even cry, move their arms and legs.

You will learn how to change the situation at the end of the article where we will explain the successful feeding technology in detail. In the meantime, let’s consider the following cause of malnutrition.

Baby’s tummy ache

Babies under the age of one usually:

  • Do not walk yet;
  • Totally depend on their mother’s mood;
  • Sleep for 12–14 hours a day.

Baby’s digestive tract problems can be another common cause of malnutrition: starting from initial milk digestion in stomach to its immediate finishing.

Digestive tract problems can occur due to not only “anxious” milk but also in the thirst 2-3 days after birth when the newborn’s body did not get colostrum and the baby was bottle fed. The feature of colostrum is that (and it is its main difference from milk) it contains a huge amount of immune cells and different hormones helping to “start” baby’s bowels.

What is meant by “proper working of baby’ bowels”? That is, bowels can produce themselves their microflora and microfauna, which help to digest milk and other food in future.

After receiving such a useful substance as colostrum, babies eat with pleasure and eat their fill. The following experiments of scientists points to that.

Biologists researched milk of different rodents. They defined the amount of proteins, fats, carbs, water percentage, composition of amino acids, and other related substances. Then they developed and created a perfect milk formula which they used to feed cubs. The experiment was a total failure – all the cubs died within a few days. With the addition of one drop of natural cow’s milk, the cubs were sick but still survived.

What conclusion can we draw from this experiment? Definitely, the advantage of real mother’s milk vs. artificial milk and in case of newborns – vs. colostrum.

How do you know whether your baby has eaten enough? Let’s see.


The signs that your baby has not eaten enough

By means of numerous observations of babies, mothers along with different experts identified 5 main signs of malnutrition.

The first sign. As described above in this article, this is general anxiety and nervousness of the baby. It should be reminded that they can be revealed as follows: 

  1. The baby does not want to nurse and turns away
  2. Winces with displeasure and groans
  3. Moves their arms and legs sharply
  4. Makes anxious sounds

To soothe the baby, you can take them in your arms, walk with them, dandle them. If you are weak, use a cradle or a pram for that. You can also bathe your baby in a warm bath with chamomile.

The second sign. After a long time of anxiety, the baby usually gets very tired and falls asleep for a long time. Such sleep lasts for more than 3–4 hours. This is not the norm. The situations of taking some medicines or when the baby is ill may be the only exception.

In this case, experienced obstetricians recommend to wake up the baby in 2–3 hours to feed them. But you should do it carefully: with light touches and strokes. You can also call the baby by name in a low voice.

The third sign. With malnutrition, the baby may have the so-called “hungry diarrhea”. It is green and can irritate the sensitive baby’s skin.

To protect the baby’s skin from rash and irritations, the special GOO.N diapers were created for newborns (up to 5 kg).

  • Their relief 3D surface does not allow loose stool touch the baby’s skin and the stool is absorbed into hollows. The skin is protected because it touches smaller surface of a diaper.
  • GOO.N diapers for newborns are made of very thin material and have a “breathable” outer layer. It makes it possible to bring out water vapor and works like a membrane, i.e. lets air to the baby’s skin. This enhances the protection from diaper rash.
  • Due to neutralizing feature, the odor after using the diaper gets weaker.

The forth sign. How many times the baby pees is another indicator that can point to malnutrition. If the baby pees less than 7 times a day, then clearly they do not get enough milk. 

GOO.N diapers for newborns have a special wetness indicator. When they get wet, the lines turn blue indicating that it is time to change the diaper. This small feature helps mothers to understand easily how many times a day the baby pees.

The fifth sign. Perhaps, this sign is the most striking of all the above: the baby has dehydration at which the tummy becomes sunken and tearless crying appears. There are no doubts here if the baby gets enough milk.

In this case, you can only soothe the baby with good milk. Now we will tell you what to do to always have enough of “calm” milk and to keep your baby well-fed and satisfied.


Useful tips for nursing

How to make “calm” milk

It is widely believed that women with larger breasts have more milk. However, according to observations of experts and mothers themselves, this is false. The “hormone of hugs” or the “magical hormone” – oxytocin is responsible for lactation. It is formed provided that these 4 conditions are met, when it is:

  • quiet
  • dark
  • warm
  • close

When nursing the newborn, the whole atmosphere should comply with these conditions. That is, the room should be quiet and warm and the lighting should be dimmer. The baby needs a close contact with their mother: “skin to skin”, “eye to eye”. In this case, lactation will be perfect.


What mothers should remember

Even if you have followed these four conditions, your state is also important. Therefore, you need to remember:

  1. nursing is a rest therefore you should nurse your baby in comfortable conditions: lying down, sitting in a comfortable armchair, without TV and disturbing noises
  2. napping together with the baby will help you to recuperate after a sleepless night and soothe your nerves
  3. you need to eat because malnutrition is a common problem of mothers, their thoughts revolve around the well-being of their babies; eat on time and drink warm drinks and then you will feel good together with you the one you care of so much
  4. try to wear warm clothes because getting too cold may cause serious health problems for breast and lactation.

As you already know, taking care of yourself relieves fatigue and anxiety better than any medicines. This being so, your baby will always be fed, happy and healthy!

Anfisa Kalistratova, child psychologist