Breast milk contains all the nutrients your baby needs for growth and development. A healthy, full-term baby has fat and moisture reserves so that the first few days the first milk suffices. Whilst your breast milk production is still increasing, most newborn babies lose some weight in the first few days. This is normal. By weighing your baby at a fixed time every day (for example before the bath), you can keep a close eye on when your baby will start growing again. It is certainly not the intention to weigh your baby before and after each feed. This is not accurate and causes a lot of concern.
The number of pee and poop diapers is a good indication of how much a baby is breastfeeding. From the third or fourth day, a baby has four to six full pee diapers and two to five poop diapers per day.
If your baby tends to lose too much weight (more than 7% of the birth weight), it is necessary to evaluate breastfeeding. It is important to check whether your baby is feeding well and actively at the breast, whether your baby is drinking often enough and whether the milk production is getting started properly. Latch on properly and latch on more often ensures that milk production increases and your baby gets more nutrition, so that he will soon be back at his birth weight.
If your baby is losing too much weight, is not (yet) feeding properly at the breast and milk production has not yet started properly, then you should start pumping and supplementing your baby with expressed breast milk. In addition, it may be a good idea to seek guidance from a lactation consultant in properly latching on and teaching your baby to drink properly.
If supplemental nutrition is required on medical grounds, breast milk is preferred. If pumping is not successful, extra supplemental nutrition can be given in consultation with the midwife. A hypo-allergenic diet is then preferred. Medical reasons for feeding are:
- A baby with a high or too low birth weight
- A skinny baby
- A baby who has lost 10% of its birth weight
- Temporary use of medication by the mother; this applies to a limited number of medicines. You can breastfeed normally with most medications