Is My Baby Feeding Effectively?

Most new mothers are concerned about their ability to recognize effective feeding in their infants. It is important to watch the baby and start to read the cues your baby gives.

Help your Baby Feed Effectively by:

  • Holding your baby comfortably without straining your back, shoulders, arms, or wrists. Use pillows to bring your baby up to your breast level. If you have large breasts, use a rolled up cloth diaper under your breast for better breast support.
  • Maintaining proper mouth position for your baby, make sure your baby: latches on with a wide mouth surrounding your nipple and one inch of your areola. His top and bottom lips should be rolled outward, not under, and his nose should touch your breast.
  • Breastfeeding comfortably: You will feel gentle tugging or drawing sensation on your nipple and areola. A feeding that is going well is not painful. If you feel pain, stop the feeding and start over.
  • Watching your baby’s jaw, temple, and throat movement: When your baby is feeding well, you can see his jaws move. You may also notice movement at his temples and his throat.
  • Listening for the sound of swallowing: Your baby’s sucking may be rapid at the beginning of his feeding, followed by gulps, and short pauses. The sucking pattern should be repeated without constant baby stimulation.

During Effective Feeding your Baby Will:

  • Relax as you continue to feed: Your baby’s body may be tense at the beginning of the feeding because he is hungry and eager to feed. As he feeds, he will become more relaxed. While feeding, your baby may fall asleep at your breast and/or release from your breast, letting you know that he is full.
  • Feel content rather than fussy and tense at the end of a feeding.
  • Need plenty of diaper changes: After the third day, a baby who is feeding well will have at least 5-6 wet diapers and 3-4 good-sized bowel movements in twenty-four hours. If his soiled diaper count is low, notify his pediatrician right away.

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