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Early Breastfeeding Screening Form

By Marianne Neifert, M.D., Author of Great Expectations: The Essential Guide to Breastfeeding

Even though you can't actually see how much milk your baby takes while nursing, the preceding guidelines can help you know whether your newborn is breastfeeding effectively and getting plenty of milk. If your baby can latch on well to both breasts, nurses often with frequent audible swallowing, seems contented after feedings, wets six or more diapers, and has at least four yellow bowel movements each day, she is most likely thriving, and your breastfeeding is off to a great start. Similarly, if your milk has come in and is flowing well, if your letdown reflex is well conditioned, and your nipples are not very sore, then breastfeeding is working well for you, too. However, if you have any doubts about how breastfeeding is going during the first few weeks, the following questions can help you know whether you would benefit from getting extra help as early as possible.

  1. Do you feel breastfeeding is going well for you so far? Yes No
  2. Has your milk come in yet (i.e., did your breasts get firm and full between the second to fifth postpartum days)? Yes No
  3. Is your baby able to latch on to both breasts without difficulty? Yes No
  4. Is your baby able to sustain rhythmic suckling for at least ten minutes total per feeding? Yes No
  5. Does your baby usually demand to feed? (Answer No if you have a sleepy baby who needs to be awakened for most feedings.) Yes No
  6. Does your baby usually nurse at both breasts at each feeding? Yes No
  7. Does your baby nurse approximately every two to three hours, with no more than one long interval of up to five hours at night (at least eight feedings each twenty-four-hour period)? Yes No
  8. Do your breasts feel full before feedings? Yes No
  9. Do your breasts feel softer after feedings? Yes No
  10. Are your nipples extremely sore (i.e., causing you to dread feedings)? No Yes
  11. Is your baby having yellow bowel movements that resemble a mixture of cottage cheese and mustard? Yes No
  12. Is your baby having at least four good-sized (at least a tablespoon) bowel movements each day? Yes No
  13. Is your baby wetting her diaper at least six times each day? Yes No
  14. Does your baby appear hungry after most feedings (i.e., sucking hands, rooting, crying, often needing a pacifier, etc.)? No Yes
  15. Do you hear rhythmic suckling and frequent swallowing while your baby nurses? Yes No

If you circled any answers in the Right-hand column, seek advice from your baby's doctor or a lactation consultant. Be reassured that most early breastfeeding problems can be successfully resolved with timely help.

©2009 Marianne Neifert, M.D., author of Great Expectations: The Essential Guide to Breastfeeding

About the Author:
Marianne Neifert, M.D., author of Great Expectations: The Essential Guide to Breastfeeding, also known as Dr. Mom®, is a popular pediatrician, nationally recognized expert in breastfeeding management, and celebrated author of child-rearing books and magazine articles. In 1985, Dr. Neifert co-founded the Lactation Program in Denver -- one of the very first community breastfeeding centers in the nation, sponsored by the Colorado Health Foundation. She is also clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. A long-time leader in the field of breastfeeding medicine, Dr. Neifert is a co-founder of the Denver Mothers' Milk Bank, founding member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding, the International Lactation Consultant Association, and the Health Advisory Council of La Leche League International. Dr Neifert has addressed audiences in forty-six states and has been a guest on countless radio shows and national television programs, including Today, Good Morning America, The Early Show, 20/20 and CNN. She has written for numerous publications including Parenting, BabyTalk, American Baby, and ParentLife.

For more information please visit http://www.dr-mom.com/

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