Breastfeeding: how much is enough?

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

"Is my baby getting enough milk from me??"

This is probably the #1 question I get from parents regarding breastfeeding. Which is not a surprise because with bottle feeding you can measure the amount and see exactly how much milk baby takes in. When a baby is directly on the breast however, that same measurement is not there. The measurement is still there though, but not in numbers per say but by other ways. So, let’s take a look. The following are indicators that your baby is transferring milk from you and getting exactly what they need:

  • Output-baby having adequate pees and poops according to age.

  • Newborns (up to 6 weeks): 6-12 pees/24 hours & 3-4 poos/24 hours

  • Older babies (over 6 weeks): 6-12 pees/24 hours & at least one weekly stool (soft consistency) Stools for exclusively breastfed babies vary from a few times per day to approx. 1 per week (no straining and soft consistency)

  • Normal growth & development (gaining approx. 20-30 grams per day or 155-240 grams/ 5.5-8.5 ounces per week)

  • Meeting developmental milestones

  • Baby shows feeding cues and content after feeding

  • Content/satisfied after feeds

  • Most times! Lol-there will be occasional times when baby is cluster feeding and/or going through growth spurts when they may have shorter durations between feeds and may not be as content as usual-THIS IS NORMAL

  • Skin (including lips) soft and pink.

  • Baby overall looks and acting healthy

  • Baby sucking strong and effectively and swallows heard

  • Mother’s breasts feel softer after feeds

  • Feels less full-though may not be as noticeable when baby gets older

It is normal to have doubt that your body can provide all your baby needs but that is the amazing thing about your body and breastfeeding. Most mothers can produce adequate milk for their babes; however, there are cases where this may not be or baby is having troubles effectively sucking from the breast and transferring the milk. If you have any doubts or questions regarding your baby’s feeding please speak to a health care provider who specializes in breastfeeding (e.g. Lactation Consultant)

Nicole Ahmed RN, BN, MSN, IBCLC

Nicole is the owner and director of the Calgary Breastfeeding Centre. She is a Masters prepared Registered Nurse and a International Certified Lactation Consultant. Nicole is also married to her high school sweetheart and is the mother of two beautiful children.

As community partners, we appreciate her taking the time to contribute to the COLO Families Blog to bring you evidenced and accurate information on breastfeeding during National Breastfeeding Week!

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