Your Feeding Issues Solved

If you are struggling with feeding problems, you aren’t alone. Many new moms run into at least one if not more feeding issues early on in their baby’s life. Fortunately, there are solutions for every problem, and your feeding issues will soon be a thing of the past. Before you go off the deep end dealing with your baby’s feeding problems, try some of these easy solutions.

Solutions to Common Breastfeeding Problems

Although it’s the way nature intended your baby to be fed, breastfeeding doesn’t always come entirely naturally. When your baby doesn’t quite take to the breast with the skill and avidity you expected, it can be disappointing and frustrating. The good news is that most breastfeeding problems can be easily solved with a few minor adjustments.

Problems latching on are one of the most common issues new breastfeeding mothers encounter. Babies who can’t seem to latch on or can’t manage to get a proper latch that doesn’t result in pain for the mother might need a little help. Silicone nipple shields are available that can be very helpful to some babies, especially preemies learning to latch on. In some cases, a different hold or more support is all that is needed to get baby at the right angle. Buy a nursing pillow, or try stacking an extra pillow or a rolled up towel under baby’s head to bring it to the right position for easier latching. Football holds work very well for some babies, while others prefer to nurse with mom lying down. Trial and error are required to get it all just right, but the payoff is well worth it.

If your baby latches on fine but then pulls off the breast suddenly, a strong let-down may be to blame. This may become evident if the milk sprays strongly even though baby stopped sucking! To avoid a strong let-down pushing your baby off the breast, try to feed baby before you become too full. Alternatively, you can try pumping a little before nursing to take the extra pressure off. Don’t do too much though, as it may affect the proper mix of foremilk and hindmilk your baby needs.

Most breastfeeding problems can be solved at home with a little practice, but in some cases you might need help. Don’t hesitate to contact a lactation consultant to give you some expert advice.

Solutions to Common Bottle-feeding Problems

Many of the problems bottle-feeding moms encountered can be resolved either by changing the bottle or changing what’s inside. Bottle-fed babies often encounter more problems with gas than breast-fed babies, and this is true whether the bottle contains breast milk or formula. Babies swallow more air when feeding from a bottle, causing gas problems. Switch to a bottle that is designed to reduce swallowed air, and be sure to burp your baby properly after every feeding. The more of that swallowed air that you can get out through burping, the less will remain in baby’s tummy to cause gas pain.

If your baby is on formula and experiencing tummy problems that aren’t resolved through burping or a different bottle, you might need to consider changing formulas. Your baby could be having trouble digesting cow’s milk formula, or could have an allergy.

When adding a bottle to a breastfed baby’s eating routine, you might find baby is very resistant at first. The nipple on a bottle is very different from the breast, and babies often have trouble adjusting. Look for a wide nipple that is designed to feel more like the breast, and try to warm milk to a temperature similar to breast milk. Put a little milk on the nipple for baby to taste and realize that what’s in there is the same stuff that was provided by the breast.

Most feeding problems can be resolved easily – but if feeding issues persist, talk to your baby’s doctor. Sometimes a little extra help is needed to find out what’s going on!

Frequently Occurring Feeding Problems

Since a baby has little else to do in life besides eat and sleep, it would seem logical that eating would be something that presents little difficulty. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Many new moms run into feeding issues that while common, can be extremely frustrating. For an exhausted new mom, feeding problems can escalate into a major issue quickly. Take a look at some of the most frequently encountered feeding issues and how to resolve them.

Baby Won’t Latch On!

Breastfeeding moms are often discouraged and frustrated when what seems like the simplest of baby care tasks just doesn’t seem to be working. Poor latch is responsible for all kinds of problems, from gas in the baby to blocked milk ducts in the mother. Babies are born with the ability to suck, but latching on is just as new to them as it is to mom. It takes some practice, and sometimes requires some help.

First, try a different position, such as a football hold, to see if this helps baby access the nipple better. If you have tried everything and are still struggling, call in a pro. Make an appointment with a lactation consultant who can help you to get it figured out. Your obstetrician or the hospital where you gave birth should be able to direct you to a consultant.

Baby Won’t Take the Bottle!

Especially if you are introducing a bottle after breastfeeding, you might have some difficulty getting your baby to accept the different look and feel of the nipple. This will likely just take time, and some experimentation with different bottles. If your baby has been on the bottle since birth, however, and suddenly starts to refuse the bottle, there may be something else going on.

Refusing a bottle can be a sign of several possible problems, from teething to ear infections, both of which make sucking painful. It could also be a sign of an upset stomach. If a reason doesn’t present itself quickly and your baby continues to refuse the bottle, it’s best to put in a call to the pediatrician. An examination might reveal the reason for the refusal, and avoid potential dehydration from refusing fluids.

Formula Upsets My Baby’s Tummy

From the first day of formula feeding to a later transition from breast milk to formula, there can be problematic responses to some of the ingredients. The proteins in formula are more difficult for a baby to digest than those in breast milk, and can cause problems like gas, constipation and diarrhea. Fortunately, there are many different formulas on the market, and you should be able to find one that works for your child.

It’s possible that the reaction is being caused by an allergy to something in the formula, whether it’s cow’s milk or soy; in this case you may need to try a hypoallergenic formula. If problems persist, see your baby’s doctor.

My Baby Falls Asleep During Feedings!

Babies sleep a lot, and it doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong if your baby is falling asleep during feedings. It could be simple fatigue, or baby has had enough to eat and is satisfied. If you are worried that your baby is falling asleep before ingesting enough, try feeding in a brightly lit room that discourages sleep. Unwrap baby from any blankets or sleep sacks; the cooler air will also encourage wakefulness. It might not be pleasant to have to turn on the lights for a night feeding, but if you don’t think baby is eating enough it might be required.

During the day, try to pick a feeding time when your baby is most alert, generally shortly after waking up. You might also find baby is the hungriest right after a nap and will eat more.

Is Your Baby Ready for Solids?

The transition to solid baby foods is the first major transition your baby will face, and everyone has an opinion on the subject. Knowing when your baby is really ready for solids can be a bit tricky, but there are some signs to look for. There is also a great deal of misinformation regarding the transition to solid foods that can cause mothers to add solids before baby is ready. Check your knowledge and find out if your baby is ready to try!

At What Age Should Solids Be Started?

Although traditionally the answer to this question has been anywhere from 4-6 months old, the AAP now officially recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. Every baby is different, however, as you have heard on so many subjects, and there are better indications than age to determine when a baby is ready. While the 6 month mark is a good place to start, your baby might not be ready until 7 months, so don’t stress it! Eventually, your baby will get there.

What are the Physical Signs of Readiness?

There are some physical abilities your baby must master in order to be ready for solid foods. Until baby is physically ready, you won’t have much success and you risk choking. Watch for these signs your baby is good to go:

  • Able to sit up with moderate support, such as in a high chair. This means that baby isn’t just propped up in the chair, but can lean forward as well, and really only needs the chair to prevent falling over.
  • Able to hold up the head well – this should go along with sitting up, most babies who can sit up well enough to start solids have developed their neck muscles enough to hold their heads up well.
  • Losing the tongue-thrust reflex. Babies have a reflex that helps to protect them from choking by causing the tongue to push out foreign matter in the mouth. By 4 months old this reflex starts to fade, but it often isn’t gone entirely until 6 months old. This reflex will make it difficult to get baby to swallow any solid foods. Also around 6 months old, baby will start to master the ability to use the tongue to push food to the back of the mouth to be swallowed.

What Other Signs of Readiness are There?

In addition to the physical development needed to eat solid foods, there are a few other signs you can look for in your baby to tell if it’s a good time to start solids.

  • Baby shows interest in how the others at the table are eating and may reach for your food. The best way to watch for this sign is to bring baby to the table. Pull the high chair up when you are eating, so that your baby can watch what is going on and develop an interest.
  • Baby mimics your eating behaviors, such as bringing food to the mouth or opening up for a bite.
  • Baby has the ability to indicate yes or no either through gestures or simply opening or closing the mouth.

What is Not a Sign of Readiness?

There is some misinformation out there, mainly perpetuated by well-meaning friends and relatives, regarding a baby’s readiness for solids. Just because you have a large baby does not mean you need to start solids earlier. No matter your baby’s size, breast milk or formula are all that is needed for the first six months. Also contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence that starting solids earlier will help a baby sleep at night. Night wakings are not a sign of readiness.

Watch for the above signs of readiness to make sure that your transition to solids goes smoothly for everyone!

Breastfeeding for Working Moms

Returning to work can be a difficult challenge for moms who would like to continue breastfeeding their baby. In addition to fitting work and family time into your busy schedule, you must now add pumping and cleaning of bottles and pump parts. But if you can manage to find a way, continuing to breastfeed your baby after returning to work is a healthy choice for your little one.

Continued Health Benefits and Immunity

Unless you are one of the lucky few who have a family member able to watch your baby, or can afford a nanny in your home, odds are your baby will be going to daycare when you go back to work. This means baby will be exposed to a lot more germs than at home with you. The antibodies and nutrients a baby receives from breast milk mean a stronger immune system, which could keep your baby from getting sick. While it does take extra time to pump and provide breast milk for your baby, it’s nothing compared to the time you will lose from work if you have to be at home with a sick infant.

In addition to keeping baby’s immune system strong, the longer you breastfeed, the more of the other health benefits your baby will receive. Especially if you are going back to work fairly soon after baby is born, continued breastfeeding until at least 4 months of age will give your baby a good start on the path to health.

Pumping at Work

One of the biggest challenges working moms face is finding both a time and place to pump at work. If you don’t have a private office and don’t want to use the restroom, ask your boss if there is a meeting room or other private space where you can close the door and pump. Some moms also use their car to pump, which might be difficult depending on what your parking space is like.

If you don’t have access to a refrigerator at work in which to store the pumped milk, keep a cooler filled with ice in the trunk of your car. You can safely store your milk there until you get it home. A small cooler bag with an ice pack or two kept near your desk works great too. Cleaning up the pump parts after use can be difficult if all you have access to is a restroom sink. There are convenient wipes you can use to clean the parts quickly, and give them a wash at home – or, keep the parts cold along with the milk until you get home.

Compromises are Ok

If you are really struggling to provide enough breast milk for your baby while working, don’t let it become a source of major stress for you. It’s ok to supplement with formula. Breastfeeding isn’t an all or nothing proposition. Whatever amount of breast milk your baby receives will help. If you choose to use formula during the day and nurse in the evenings, that is ok! You have a lot to deal with, so don’t feel bad if you have to make compromises.

Every bit of breast milk your baby receives will help, so do your best to continue some level of breastfeeding when you return to work, if you can. There is no doubt that it is a challenge that requires some effort and ingenuity, but the benefits to your baby are well worth it.

Dealing with Pain and Engorgement

Especially in the early weeks of breastfeeding, you may experience swelling and tenderness of the breasts. As your milk comes in, your breasts will become engorged and full of milk, and it will take a little while for your body to regulate milk production so this doesn’t happen all the time.

Breastfeeding is supply and demand – the more your baby nurses, the more milk your body produces. In the first weeks, your body needs to figure out how much milk it needs to make in order to meet your baby’s needs. This process usually begins with a lot of milk being produced, but soon the production will settle down to the right level. In the meantime, there are some steps you can take to ease the discomfort.

Relieving Engorgement

The quickest way to relieve engorgement is to let the baby nurse. If baby is sleeping or not hungry, you can express a small amount of milk to take some of the pressure off, but use caution. Expressing too much will tell the body that the baby needs more, setting off higher levels of milk production and making the engorgement worse! The best way to express only a small amount of milk is to do it by hand, avoiding the breast pump. Try taking a warm shower and gently massaging the breasts until the milk lets down. Just the warm water and massage will ease the pain, even if no milk is released. However, if you can get a small amount of milk to come out this way, it will also take off some of the pressure.

Use warm compresses prior to nursing and cold compresses in between feedings to bring down the swelling. Using a cold compress prior to nursing will make it difficult for the milk to let down for baby. A great way to make a cold compress is to put some water in a newborn size diaper and put it in the freezer. Then, simply slip one into each side of your bra for soothing relief. Some women also use cabbage leaves as compresses to relieve engorgement.

Other Sources of Pain

Not all pain during nursing is caused by engorgement. Your nipples may become painful, red and crack or even bleed, especially as they get used to nursing. Lanolin ointments can help to relieve the dryness and cracking. Cold compresses will also help with pain. Make sure to gently clean nipples after nursing and allow them to dry before putting your bra back on to help prevent further problems.

Mastitis, a painful infection of the milk ducts, can occur anytime during breastfeeding, but is most common in the early months. It happens when a milk duct becomes clogged and it is not relieved quickly. Avoid mastitis by making sure to empty the breast completely, nursing baby on both sides equally, and dealing with any sign of a blocked duct quickly. If you notice a tender spot on the breast, a hard area where engorgement is not relieved in spite of nursing, or a general feeling of pain in the breast, you may have a blocked duct. Massage the area gently, apple heat, and allow the baby to nurse regularly to free the blockage. If you notice redness, swelling, or the pain does not go away within a few days, contact your doctor.

Some pain and discomfort during the early stages of breastfeeding is normal, and should resolve within a couple of months. With careful treatment and precautions, you can avoid most breastfeeding pain. However, don’t hesitate to call your doctor if you have continuing problems.

Getting Started with Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is the best thing you can possibly do for your baby to promote good health and nutrition. If you want to give it a try, you are making a great choice for your infant’s health, but it can be a bit daunting at first. It seems as though breastfeeding should be the most natural thing in the world, and many new moms are surprised and disappointed when it is difficult or challenging. Hang in there – with time, practice, and a little help, you will soon be a breastfeeding pro.

The First Feedings

If you have a normal, vaginal delivery you will likely be able to put your newborn to the breast right away, but don’t expect too much. Your baby will be very tired from the birth process and may fall asleep rather than putting too much effort into eating. Full-term babies are born with the sucking reflex, which allows them to eat whether from breast or bottle. Your baby does have the ability to suck at the breast, but may take a little time to figure out how to latch on properly.

Over the first few days of life, you will spend a lot of time practicing latching on with baby. A proper latch is the key to successful breastfeeding, so if you are experiencing trouble with it such as pain or baby coming off the breast repeatedly, ask for help. The best time to get help with early stages of breastfeeding is while you are still in the hospital. The nurses in the maternity ward can offer you a great deal of knowledge and experience. There should also be a specialist in the area of breastfeeding, called a lactation consultant, who can provide help and support if getting started is tough.

During the early feedings, baby won’t be getting large amounts of milk, but the first milk that your breasts produce is vital to baby’s good health. Colostrum, the early milk, is filled with nutrients and antibodies that will protect your baby. Although it has become common to offer a newborn formula as a supplement to the small amounts of colostrum, it isn’t really necessary. Your baby doesn’t need to eat that much in the first 24-48 hours, and the weight loss that can scare some new parents into adding formula is actually normal for newborns. So don’t worry – your baby is getting enough to eat.

Dealing with Engorgement and Pain

It will take a while for your milk supply to truly come in, probably a few days. When it does, you might experience an uncomfortable feeling of fullness in the breasts, known as engorgement. This will settle down as the baby establishes breastfeeding and your body adjusts to the amount of milk needed. There are a few ways to deal with engorgement. Some women use warm compresses to soothe the breasts. You can also express some of the milk, either with a breast pump or even by hand to release the pressure. Remember though that the more milk you express, the more your body will think is needed for the baby, so it could perpetuate engorgement.

Early on, you might experience pain, redness and even cracking of the nipples. Some of this is normal; your body is adjusting to the new process. But continued pain is not normal and often is a sign that baby is not latching on properly. If you can’t seem to get the right latch, make an appointment to see a lactation consultant, who can help you get it figured out. In the meantime, apply lanolin to soothe the nipples and make sure you dry them thoroughly after a feeding.

Breastfeeding is not always easy, but it is well worth sticking out the first weeks for the long-term health of your baby. Most women won’t have problems once it is established, but if you do, talk to your doctor and get some help.

Feeding Your Baby Breast Milk in a Bottle

For many women who choose to breastfeed, there will come a time when you might want to give baby a bottle of pumped breast milk, or have someone else take over a feeding that way. There is nothing wrong with giving your breastfed baby a bottle either occasionally or even regularly. Breast milk is the same no matter what the source. You might find, however, that your baby is resistant to the bottle, so take it slowly and follow these tips.

Breast Milk in a Bottle – Pick Your Timing

Most breastfeeding experts recommend against giving a breastfed baby a bottle in the first few weeks of life. During this time, baby and you are establishing breastfeeding, both learning the necessary skills and also getting your milk supply regulated.

Because sucking from a bottle requires a different mechanism of the baby’s mouth to extract milk than does nursing, babies who are given bottles in the first weeks of life may have more difficulty learning to latch on to the breast properly, or may prefer the bottle because it is easier to get milk from. Giving a bottle too early can be detrimental to the long-term success of breastfeeding.

Although you may have heard that giving the baby a bottle earlier will make it more likely to be accepted, it isn’t worth the risk of damaging the process of establishing proper nursing.

Choosing the Right Bottle

When selecting bottles for breast milk, look for a wide mouth bottle with a larger nipple. These wider nipples are designed to feel more like the breast to the baby, making it more likely that your baby will accept the bottle. You might also want to consider choosing bottles that attach directly to your breast pump for convenience, but these are often not the wide mouth type. Some pumps do have a converter that allows you to use the wide mouth bottles on the pump.

Feeding Breast Milk in a Bottle for the First Time

Don’t be surprised if baby refuses the bottle the first time you try. Remember that this is a new experience, and your baby has no idea what a bottle is! Keep it familiar by feeding baby in the same position in which you normally nurse, slightly modified. If you use a nursing pillow, you should also use it for bottle feeding. Try to warm the bottle to a temperature very close to breast milk from the body – you can estimate this better if you test freshly pumped breast milk to know how it feels. You may have more success if you attempt bottle feeding when the baby is very hungry and searching for food, but beware that this might also cause frustration for the baby who is looking for the breast and instead finds the bottle.

Odds are that once baby discovers that the bottle contains the same milk as the breast, you won’t have much trouble with feeding your baby breast milk in a bottle. To encourage this, try putting some breast milk on the outside of the nipple so that when you touch it to baby’s lips, the taste and smell of breast milk make the bottle more appetizing.

Most babies will have no difficulty switching back and forth between the breast and bottle if you time it right and go slowly at the beginning. You may find though, that baby does show a preference for one or the other. Just like anyone else, babies will have opinions and preferences! In most cases though, this won’t lead to refusal of either the breast or the bottle in the long term.

Does Breast Size Affect Ability to Breastfeed?

Many women worry that the size of their breasts will impact the amount of milk they are able to provide for baby. Fortunately, there is no correlation between breast size and milk production. No matter what the size of your breasts, you can still successfully breastfeed your baby.

Breast Size and Milk Production

The only difference between larger breasts and smaller breasts is their capacity to store milk. Larger breasts will be able to hold more milk, and thus a woman with larger breasts may be able to go longer between feedings without feeling engorged. A woman with smaller breasts will likely feel full sooner and need to relieve the pressure either through feeding or pumping. Many women find their breasts grow even larger post-partum than during pregnancy. You may be several cup sizes above where you started when you found out you were pregnant. When your milk comes in, your size will likely peak, and then subside a bit later in the breastfeeding process.

The storage capacity of your breasts does not mean you can’t make the same amount of milk! It just means less milk is being held in the breast at any given time. Your body can quickly and easily replace the milk as the baby feeds. You can produce just as much milk with small breasts as with larger ones.

Women with very large or very small breasts may have some issues with getting baby latched on. It will take a bit of practice to figure out what works best. You can try different ways of holding the baby, or use pillows under baby’s head to get it in the right position. With some trial and error you will soon find the right placement.

What Does Affect Milk Supply?

The production of milk is a supply and demand process. Every time your baby feeds, the body kicks into gear to replace the milk that was used. The more often your baby feeds, the more milk your body will produce to keep the supply up to the need. If you have to go a long time between feedings, such as if you are at work all day, pumping during the day will keep your body producing milk. It doesn’t take long for milk production to slow down or to pick up based on the demand. If you find your milk seems a bit low, add a pumping or feeding session and it should come back up quickly.

Other factors will affect your milk production as well. Poor diet, dehydration, illness, fatigue and stress can all cause milk production to slow down. Make sure that you are eating a healthy, balanced diet and drinking plenty of fluids to support your body’s ability to make milk. It might be hard to get a good night’s sleep with a baby in the house, but rest whenever you can – even a catnap during the day can help. Taking good care of your body will keep your milk supply strong.

There are certain medications that can inhibit milk supply. Talk to your doctor before taking any medication, whether over the counter or prescription while you are breastfeeding. Even some medications deemed safe for the baby can be detrimental to your milk supply.

Women have the natural ability to produce the perfect baby food for their babies. No matter what your breast size, your baby will get the best nutrition possible from breast milk, and will be able to get enough to grow and thrive as long as you take good care of yourself.

Safe Storage of Breast Milk

If you are using a breast pump to express milk and don’t plan to feed the milk to your baby immediately, you should know how to store breast milk safely it in order to avoid spoiling. While breast milk can actually stay out at room temperature safely for several hours, if you aren’t planning to use it it’s best to get it into the fridge right away.

Breast Milk Storage Containers

If you are storing breast milk for use within a few days, you can simply store breast milk in the same bottles you plan to feed the baby from. Just make sure the baby bottle has a cap that seals securely. This will make warming the baby bottle easier as well, as you won’t have to transfer it to a new container.

If you plan to freeze your breast milk, you should use breast milk storage containers designed specifically for the purpose. The easiest to use are breast milk storage bags, as they take up less room in the freezer and can be disposed off after use. There are also plastic bottles available that you can use to store breast milk securely. When filling your breast milk storage containers, leave space for the expansion that will occur upon freezing. Bags will be easy to stack if you freeze them lying flat. Make sure to date every breast milk storage container you freeze.

How Long to Store Breast Milk

Unlike formula, which can only be left out at room temperature for an hour before it has to be thrown away, breast milk is ok at room temperature for 4 hours or more. If your house is hot or you have had the milk sitting out in the sun, this time is much shorter. Just like with regular milk, you can always smell it to see if it shows signs of spoiling. When in doubt, throw it out. Milk kept in the fridge may separate. Gently swirl it around to mix it back together.

Breast milk can be stored in the freezer section of your refrigerator for up to three months. A chest freezer, which has lower temperatures, will allow you to store breast milk for up to six months.

Thawing Breast Milk

The best way to thaw breast milk is in the fridge overnight. Alternatively, you can set the frozen bag in a bowl of warm water to thaw more quickly. When removing bags of milk from the freezer, be sure to use the oldest frozen milk first, as you have more time to use the newer milk. After thawing, transfer the milk to a bottle. Never use the microwave to thaw or warm breast milk. It can create hot spots and can also kill nutrients in the milk.

If You Have Excess Breast Milk

If you find that you are freezing more milk than your baby will ever need, or it will go bad before you will use it, there is an alternative to throwing it out. Milk banks across the country accept donations of breast milk to be provided to babies whose own mothers are unable to provide it, and who can not tolerate formula for a variety of reasons. There is a screening process for donors to ensure the safety of the milk supply. Although it may take a little of your time, it is well worth the chance to save the life of a baby. Contact the hospital where you had your baby or your doctor to find out where to donate breast milk.

How to Know if Baby is Eating Enough

When bottle feeding, it’s easy to tell how much your baby is eating just by looking at the bottle. It can be a little harder to tell, however, if you are breastfeeding. There are ways of knowing exactly how much your baby is getting from the breast, but it probably isn’t necessary. You can tell baby is getting enough to eat by a few simple signs.

How Much Baby is Getting From the Breast

If your baby has special weight gain circumstances, such as prematurity, you may be asked to do a weight test to find out how much milk baby is getting from the breast. This involves weighing baby just prior to nursing, and then directly afterwards. The increase in weight will tell you how much milk the baby got during that feeding.

For most babies, however, this type of close measuring isn’t necessary or feasible. It requires a very sensitive scale, which can be purchased or rented from the hospital, but really isn’t necessary except in special circumstances.

Other Ways of Gauging Intake

There are some simple ways to tell if your baby is getting enough to eat when nursing. The first and most obvious is weight gain over time. Your pediatrician will weigh your baby every time you come in for a check up, and check it against previous weights on a growth chart. As long as your baby is gaining weight at a normal rate, there is likely nothing to worry about as far as eating habits.

If you can’t wait for a check up to find out if baby is eating enough, you can call your doctor’s office and ask to come in for a simple weight check. You won’t see the doctor, but a nurse will check your baby’s weight. Alternatively, you can watch for a few simple signs that baby is doing just fine.

A baby who is getting enough milk should have a wet diaper at least every 6 hours. The frequency of bowel movements is less important, especially in a breastfed infant. Because breast milk is used so effectively by your baby’s body, there is often little waste. A breastfed baby may go as long as two weeks between bowel movements. This is not a cause for concern unless there is some sign of discomfort or straining. Breastfed babies rarely become constipated, and as long as there are no other signs it’s not likely a sign of lack of food either. If you are concerned about how long baby has gone without a bowel movement, call your pediatrician.

Your baby will also give you signals of hunger and satisfaction. After a feeding, baby should appear sated and relaxed. If you see signs of rooting, fussing or sucking motions, baby might still be feeling hungry. Falling asleep or being easily distracted from the breast are signs baby’s tummy is full.

Your baby will eat different amounts at various feedings based on the time of day, baby’s mood and energy level, and other factors such as distractions. Don’t worry if baby comes off the breast before you think enough time has passed for a full feeding. Babies are very good at letting us know when they are hungry, and they also know when they are not hungry. Take your cues from your baby and you are unlikely to encounter any problems with the quantity of the feedings.

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