Because they can't see exactly how much milk a baby is drinking when breastfeeding, some mums worry if their growing baby is getting enough. There’s no ‘right amount’ to feed your baby, but here are some ways you can tell whether they’re getting enough.
How big is my baby's tummy?
In the first few days your baby will drink very little, as their tummy is only the size of a cherry! By day 3 it will have grown to the size of a walnut or Brussel sprout. By week 1, your baby’s tummy will be the size of a plum or apricot, and by 1 month it should be the size of a large egg.
Around day 3-4 your breasts will fill with even more milk in response to your baby's feeding patterns and growing tummy. Watch out for your baby's cues telling you they're hungry, start feeding and keep going for as long as they want – this is how your body knows how much milk to make. You can find out how to learn your baby’s feeding cues here.
Can I 'spoil' my baby by breastfeeding too much?
It's important to know that you're not 'spoiling' your baby by feeding in this way – you're making them feel loved, safe and secure. You can find out more about creating a strong bond with your baby in UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative's leaflet Building a happy baby.
Is breast milk enough?
Many mums worry about their babies being hungry, but most of the time they have nothing to worry about. Some mums try to introduce formula feeding or solids early on, sometimes hoping that it will encourage their baby to sleep for longer periods. However, breast milk is all babies need for the first 6 months of their lives, and research shows that babies fed this way are healthier.
Most babies don't need solids until they reach 6 months old, but speak to your health visitor if you think your baby is hungry. Even after you’ve introduced them to solid food, they'll still need the goodness of breast milk, so do keep breastfeeding if you can, or give expressing a go.