Many breastfeeding moms have difficulty determining when their baby has had enough to eat, often leading to worry and (in some cases) overfeeding and spitting up. In this audio segment, Certified Breastfeeding Educator Anna Marie Nelson discusses 2 simple ways to determine when your baby has really had enough to eat.

Click on the play button below to listen to the audio:

Enough Breastmilk?

QUESTION: How can a mom tell when her baby has had enough breast milk to eat?

mother breast feeding her baby girl
Learn 2 simple ways to determine if your baby has had enough breast milk to eat

ANNA MARIE NELSON: When they’re calm and satisfied and they’re not hungry, one of the good cues is their fists will be loose.  If a baby’s fists are tight, it’s clenched, they’re hungry.

And if a baby’s fist is looser, it may still be in a fist, but if it’s a loose fist then the baby is normally satisfied.  So you have to be cognizant of what your baby’s doing.  And many women are scared to death that their baby is not getting enough, but if the baby nurses and it’s relaxed and calm afterwards then chances are, yes, the baby’s getting enough.

The other good cue is, the baby has a soft spot on the top of their head called the fontanelle.

A good, quick check to see if your baby is getting enough is, feel that soft spot.  If the soft spot is flat or protruding, the baby’s well hydrated and everything’s fine.  If the soft spot is kind of sunken in and there’s a little valley there, then your baby needs to be nursing more often and perhaps longer periods of time.  And the whole timing thing, once again, we pick out arbitrary numbers.  Like you were saying, you know, you give the baby two ounces of formula or four ounces.

Remember that’s an arbitrary number.  We don’t know how much each baby should be eating.  Not all babies are the same size.

A newborn baby’s tummy is about the size of a marble. So if you’re thinking of four ounces?  Way, way, way too much.  And of course then the baby spits up and then you’re thinking, “Oh, my gosh.  There’s something wrong.” It’s because you’re overfeeding the baby.  It’s very, very easy to overfeed a baby with a bottle.

    5 replies to "Breast Milk – Is Your Baby Getting Enough To Eat?"

    • Tasha

      Wow, these are great tips! I always thought it was just a guessing game, trying to figure out if Baby has had enough. Now I know the tricks, it will give me peace of mind. Thanks!


    • Baby moo

      Thats interesting, im feeding our 2nd & wouldnt have known!
      Thanks for sharing


    • Heather

      my daughter is 6 months and ever since the first day in the hospital and i gave her the breast thats all shes wanted she has always just pulled off the nipple when shes done but sometimes she will stay on there for an hour and a half so im wondering if shes getting enough i have good milk flow and she takes big gulps but everyone says she should eat for 20 to 30 min and be done,she may be useing me as her pacifier i dont know because she golps it down even when shes asleep.she literally eats all nite for hours,while shes asleep,im not sure what to make of it any advice on whats going on?


    • Kori

      Heather my son did the same thing wanting to eat forever at first and I would let him then the lactation consultant explained you atr teaching him how to eat and setting up habits for the rest of his life so I stared feeding him for hardney minutes on each side more often it sucked at first because I felt like all he did was eat now he only takes about ten fifteen minutes every three hours or so. Thats just what I’ve learned.i would try anything until you find something that works good luck.


    • tommy wang

      My wife and I are expecting our first baby and we are learning so much on this post. Thank you for all this handy info!


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