Worried that your newborn baby is not getting enough milk?

Here is a checklist

Warning signs

Talk to your midwife as soon as possible (within a couple of hours) if:

  • Baby is sleepy and has less than six feeds in 24 hours
  • Baby consistently feeds for under 5 mins or longer than 40 mins
  • Baby often falls asleep at the breast and/or never finishes the feed and delatches himself, or seems hungry all the time
  • Your baby appears jaundiced (yellow colour of the skin)
  • Baby comes on and off the breast frequently during the feed or refuses to feed
  • Baby is not having sufficient wet or dirty nappies
  • Orange, red or pink crystals have appeared in the nappy
  • You have pain in your breasts or nipples that does not disappear after the first few sucks
  • Your nipple comes out of baby’s mouth looking pinched or flattened
  • You cannot tell if your baby is swallowing milk
  • You think your baby needs a dummy
  • You feel like you need to give your baby formula milk
  • Baby has lost more than 8-10% of their birth weight by day 5, or is not putting on weight as they should

Urgent signs – seek immediate medical attention via your midwife, 111, or A&E

Your baby could be dehydrated if any of these apply:  

  • Baby is very drowsy or hard to wake
  • Baby has not had a wet nappy for more than 6 hours
  • Baby has concentrated or smelly urine, or orange/red crystals
  • Baby’s mouth and lips are dry
  • The fontanelle on the top of baby’s head is sunken
  • Baby’s skin looks “baggy” and stays pinched-looking if gently squeezed

If you suspect that your baby is dehydrated please seek urgent medical help.  Baby needs milk from a bottle as soon as possible.  In many cases, one or two bottles of expressed milk or formula will help to restore energy levels and allow you to restart breastfeeding.

IF YOUR DEHYDRATED BABY WILL NOT DRINK AT LEAST 30 mls (1oz) of breast milk or formula milk then baby may need to be admitted to hospital.  Please do not delay ringing the hospital or emergency services for advice, even in the middle of the night, or attend hospital A&E.