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How do I know if baby is nursing enough?
Q: I have just started breastfeeding. How can I tell if my baby girl is getting enough to eat?
A: Congratulations on your new arrival, and on choosing to breastfeed your new daughter.

When you breastfeed, you can't measure the amount of milk your newborn consumes. However, there are signs that let you know that your baby is getting enough to drink.

During a good feeding, you should hear your baby swallowing with each suck. You're likely to feel a strong, deep pulling sensation when your baby is suckling correctly, and she should continue to suckle vigorously for 15 to 20 minutes on each breast. (Alternatively, your baby may prefer to nurse for 30 minutes on one breast, but be sure to offer your other breast at the next feeding.) You may notice that one breast is leaking milk while your baby is feeding from the opposite side. Or, you may feel the classic let- down reflex, a sensation that indicates milk is being let down within the breast.

When your baby is full, she should come off of your breast spontaneously and appear relaxed.

If feedings are going well, your daughter should be producing six to eight wet cloth diapers each day or four to six wet disposable diapers and approximately two to three bowel movements every 24 hours. Additionally, your baby will gain weight appropriately. Your pediatrician will measure her weight at each visit and let you know if she's growing appropriately.

Good luck! If you have additional questions, speak to your baby's pediatrician or a lactation consultant.

Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist