How to determine if a newborn has eaten enough? 5 assessment methods summarized by a second-time mom. – After the birth of a newborn, most mothers opt for breastfeeding. However, here comes the question: some say to feed on a schedule, while others advocate for feeding on demand. Generally, on-demand feeding is recommended, meaning breastfeeding the baby whenever they feel hungry. But how do you determine if a newborn has eaten enough? Is it every time they want to eat or cry?

This is indeed a major concern for many new mothers. Sometimes, a newborn seems to keep feeding continuously, and as long as you offer, they continue to eat. It’s truly challenging to discern when they are actually satisfied.

As a mother who has given birth to two babies, I’ve gathered some insights into assessing whether a newborn has eaten enough. Let’s share these experiences together.

Judging by Mental State

A well-fed newborn appears particularly content, willing to play on their own for a while, and sleeps soundly. They can sleep for 1-2 hours at a stretch, and in some cases, even longer. Some babies can sleep 4-6 hours during this time, but my baby, for instance, sleeps a maximum of 2 hours.

If a newborn hasn’t eaten enough, they tend to cry easily, show disinterest in playing, and have restless sleep. They may wake up after a very short time, sometimes just ten minutes or half an hour.

Judging by Breast Condition

A well-fed newborn brings about noticeable changes in the breasts. Before breastfeeding, the breasts are full and may even leak milk. After breastfeeding the newborn, at least one breast should feel emptied. When the baby is very small, it’s indeed challenging to determine if they’ve consumed enough breast milk, so we rely on the firmness or softness of the breasts.

If a newborn hasn’t eaten enough, the breastfeeding mother won’t feel a fullness in her breasts, won’t hear swallowing sounds, and there won’t be significant changes in breast condition before and after breastfeeding.

More: What’s the reason for a newborn frequently hiccupping?

Judging by Nursing Duration

A well-fed newborn won’t continuously nurse; typically, each breastfeeding session lasts around 30 minutes. They breastfeed every 2 hours or even longer, as it takes 2-3 hours for breast milk to be fully emptied. A normal feeding schedule involves 8-12 nursing sessions per day.

If a newborn hasn’t eaten enough, they may nurse continuously, wanting to nurse for one or two hours and crying if denied. This indicates a severe lack of breast milk. It’s important to promptly take steps to increase breast milk to prevent the baby from experiencing nutritional deficiencies.

Judging by the Frequency of Urination and Bowel Movements

A well-fed newborn tends to have more frequent urination and bowel movements. They may wet 6-8 or more diapers with urine and have bowel movements 8-12 times or even more per day. In my case, we went through over 20 diapers a day with over 10 bowel movements, which was considered normal. Some mothers mention their babies having 5-6 bowel movements, and doctors also consider this normal.

If a newborn hasn’t eaten enough, there is a noticeable decrease in the frequency of urination and bowel movements, and the urine may have a yellowish color. With an empty stomach, there’s less to eliminate. Some babies might also have greenish bowel movements, indicating hunger. Research suggests that when a newborn is hungry, the intestinal motility is faster, and bowel movements stay in the intestines for a shorter time, resulting in a green color.

Judging by Weight Gain

A well-fed newborn, after 5-7 days, will regain their birth weight, and significant weight gain will be observed after two weeks, with a minimum weight increase of 600g by the end of the first month.

If a newborn hasn’t eaten enough, there won’t be significant weight gain, and it will fall far below the standard values.

How do you determine if a newborn has eaten enough? Let’s discuss together.

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