Whether they’re breastfeeding or formula feeding, one thing the parents of newborns have in common is a focus on making sure their babies are healthy, growing, and well-fed. But for new parents who aren’t familiar with newborn feeding patterns, it’s not always easy to tell whether babies are getting all the milk they need. The first sign that a baby is getting enough to eat is that she is making enough wet diapers. Babies who are getting enough milk wet their diapers every few hours, or after every feed. Ultimately, however, tracking a baby’s growth through her well-child visits is the best way to be sure that she is growing at a healthy rate.
Signs of underfeeding
A baby’s weight is one indication of how she is feeding and growing, another is how well hydrated she is, which parents can get an indication of from the number of wet diapers she goes through on a regular basis. During the first few days of life, as she first learns to feed, the number of diaper changes a baby needs can vary widely, but in the days after that, she will start to settle into more of a routine, and should be peeing and pooping regularly. It’s not uncommon for a young baby to need a diaper change after every feed.
Pale urine in wet diapers means a baby is well-hydrated, but urine that’s darker yellow, or apple juice-colored after the first 4 days could be a sign that the baby isn’t drinking enough milk, and may be becoming dehydrated. Sometimes parents may notice orange crystals in urine, sometimes referred to as “brick dust,” which can also be a sign of dehydration. Crystals in urine often aren’t a sign of anything wrong, but it’s a good idea to check in with a pediatrician to make sure everything is on-track.
In the first few days after birth, babies may produce dark, tarry poops, but soon after, their poops should change. Dirty diapers look different in formula-fed and breastfed babies. Healthy poops by from breastfed babies are generally yellowish and looser, while formula-fed babies’ poops are generally browner and firmer. If very dark poops continue, consult with your baby’s pediatrician.
Signs your breastfed baby is getting enough to eat
Signs your formula-fed baby is getting enough to eat
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- “Making Sure Your Baby is Getting Enough Milk.” HealthyChildren. American Academy of Pediatrics, November 21 2015. Web.