Keeping a breastfeeding log
If you’re breastfeeding, you may wonder if your baby is getting enough milk to grow strong and stay healthy. Use the March of Dimes breastfeeding log (.PDF, 70KB) to record when and how much you breastfeed. It’s a great way to keep track of how well your baby is feeding.
Take your breastfeeding log to all of your baby’s checkups. At every checkup, your baby’s health care provider checks your baby’s growth and weight gain. If your baby is slow to gain weight, the breastfeeding log can help you and your baby’s provider spot and take care of many feeding problems.
What information does a breastfeeding log track?
You can use your breastfeeding log to track these things:
- Day and times of your baby’s feedings
- How long your baby feeds from each breast
- Which breast you started with at each feeding
- How much breast milk you pump
- Number of wet diapers or bowel movements
- Breastfeeding problems or concerns
Can you use a breastfeeding log if you’re pumping?
Yes. Just like breastfeeding, it’s a good idea to keep a record of when you pump. A breast pump helps you remove milk from your breasts. You can use the milk at a later time to feed your baby. Milk pumped from your breasts is called expressed milk.
If you’re going back to work or school, or if there are times you need to be away from your baby, you probably need to pump. Write down the date, time and how much breast milk you pump in your breastfeeding log.
If your baby’s in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), you can use your breastfeeding log to keep track of how often and how much milk you express. If your baby was born prematurely or has a birth defect, by the end of the first week you want to make at least 16 ounces of milk every 24 hours.
Many moms struggle to make breast milk when their babies are sick. It may take a few days of pumping before you make much milk. If you’re having trouble making enough breast milk, don’t give up! Ask your health care provider or lactation consultant for help. A lactation consultant is a person with special training and education in helping women breastfeed. Share your breastfeeding log with your lactation consultant. She can use the information in your log to make sure you’re pumping often enough and making enough milk.
Are there signs that your baby isn’t getting enough milk?
Yes. Keeping a breastfeeding log may help you spot breastfeeding problems early on. If your baby doesn’t get enough breast milk, it can affect his health and your body’s ability to keep making milk.
Call your baby’s health care provider if your baby:
- Breastfeeds for very short or very long stretches of time. Most babies feed for 15 to 30 minutes at a time at one breast. It’s OK if your baby takes more or less time. But if she feeds for less than 10 minutes each time, she may not be getting enough milk. If she feeds for more than 50 minutes each time, she may not be sucking well, or you may not be making enough milk.
- Is still hungry after breastfeeding. If your baby seems hungry or fussy after feedings, she may not be getting enough milk.
- Goes for hours without feeding. Most newborns are hungry about once every 2 to 3 hours. If your newborn sleeps more than 4 hours at night, wake her up and breastfeed.
- Isn’t gaining weight. It’s normal for a baby to lose a little weight after birth. Within the first 2 weeks of life, though, she should gain the weight back, plus a little more. If your baby’s not steadily gaining weight, she may not be getting enough milk.
- Isn’t swallowing. It’s hard to tell when your baby swallows. Look and listen closely. She should swallow after a few suckles. A short break in her breathing can be a clue that she’s swallowing.
- Is sweating or turns blue around the lips during breastfeeding. These can be signs of other health problems. Tell your provider about them right away.
Some moms have problems or discomforts when breastfeeding. These can affect how much milk you make for your baby. Learn what you can do to take care of common breastfeeding problems and discomforts.
Last reviewed: May, 2014