Pump Output Tells You Nothing

Pump Output Tells You Nothing

Here's one of my favorite pieces of advice from the Breastfeeding Survival Guide

"Pump output means pretty much nothing about how much baby is actually getting. Babies are SO much more efficient at moving milk. So don’t worry about how much baby is getting as long as he’s gaining weight and has good diaper output."

Let's talk about "good diaper output" ... What exactly does that mean, and how do you know if your breastfed baby is getting enough milk?

Here are some quantifiable things to look at:

Baby has plenty of wet diapers and the following # of poopy diapers: 1 on day 1, 2 on day 2, 3 on day 3, and 4 or more on days 4 - 30. After the "newborn" phase (the first month of life), it's okay for breastfed babies to go longer stretches without a poop.

Baby is gaining weight. It's normal for babies to lose weight in their first few days after birth, however doctors don't want to see more than a 7% total loss and no continued loss after day 5.

All babies gain weight on different trajectories and the "charts" don't account for the differences in breastfed vs formula fed babies. Once baby is back up to birth weight, ideally within two weeks of birth, the key is that they continue gaining and don't start losing.

Here are some less quantifiable ways of knowing if baby is getting milk:

✓ Baby is latching and you can see and hear them swallowing.

✓ Your breasts feel softer and less full after a feed.

✓ Your baby seems satisfied directly following a meal. Be careful to assume that just because baby sleeps between feeds that they are full and content. Undernourished babies are sleepy babies; they don't have the energy to interact. But, if you're checking the boxes on the items above and your baby is content right after a meal, that's a good sign. If baby is not checking the boxes and is sleepy, that could be a red flag.

I hope this helps!

Please note, these checklist items cannot diagnose a supply problem by themselves, so if you have any doubts about your baby's health, consult your doctor. 

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