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:
QUESTION: How can a mom tell when her 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.