How do you know if your baby is eating enough? It’s a common concern for many parents, and rightly so. If your baby isn’t getting the nutrients she needs to thrive, serious health consequences can result. But, how do you know if your “just being overly concerned” or if it’s time to call the doctor?
To help you gauge whether or not your little one is getting enough food at each feeding, here are some common cues to watch for:
Because each serving is measured, it’s relatively easy to know how much food your baby is getting at each feeding. If you notice your baby isn’t eating much consistently (every meal) over a long period of time (days) and there are other signs she may be suffering (e.g. fussiness, crying, diarrhea), don’t hesitate to give the doctor a call.
Keep in mind: it’s normal for a baby to drink different amounts of formula at each feeding. It’s more important to pay attention to your baby’s cues than it is to monitor the amount of food she’s consuming or how long she’s taking to drink it. If your baby turns her head from a bottle or becomes fidgety while eating, she’s more than likely telling you she’s full.
If your baby is breastfed, listen for the sound of her sucking and swallowing while she nurses. Watch for milk to pool around her mouth and your nipple as she nurses, which is a sign she’s successfully getting milk. Your breasts should feel softer and less full after your little one nurses, which means she’s drawing milk from your breast.
Just like formula fed babies, your baby will give you clues her tummy is full, such as turning away from your breast or pushing your chest away.
One measurable way to determine if your baby is getting enough food is her weight. Regardless of whether your baby is being given formula or breast milk, she should be gaining weight at a steady rate. To ensure your little one is on the right track for weight, make sure she’s being monitored by a qualified healthcare professional.
Another sign your baby may not be getting enough food is lack of wet diapers and/or bowel movements. It’s important to remember, some babies can go days without pooping. However, if you notice your baby isn’t wetting her diaper frequently (at least 6 times per day) or is not having as many bowel movements as she normally does, it may be an indication she’s dehydrated and not getting enough nutrients.
In most cases, there’s no need to worry about whether or not your baby is eating enough food as long as they are happy and gaining weight at a steady rate. However, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for signs your baby may not be eating enough so a health or nursing issue can be addressed immediately.