15 Physical Signs The Baby Might Not Be Getting Enough Milk

Keeping up with the baby growth is very important. New mothers know that there will be a lot of doctors appointments once she brings the baby home. That is because the first few years are the most important to keep up with when it comes to the development of your child, how much weight they are gaining, how much they are growing, as well as their activity level.

It is always recommended that for proper nourishment, babies should be breastfed. There are sometimes complications that may keep your baby from getting the nourishment they need. Sometimes it is something very simple that can be corrected easily, but there are also times when it can be something a little more serious.

There are many ways you can tell if your baby is getting enough milk, and there are also many signs to let you know if they are not getting enough. Here we are listing a few of the signs that your child is not getting enough milk, but anytime you believe something doesn’t seem right, you should contact your pediatrician immediately. You don’t want to take any chances with such fragile little lives. Keep a checklist of all milestones.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

15 Teeth Problems

If your baby is malnourished because of a lack of milk, you may notice their gums bleeding or teeth hurting. It may be very hard to distinguish between not getting enough milk and just plain teething, but if the gums are also bleeding that might be because of malnutrition.

This wouldn’t happen right away after a few feedings, this would be something that would occur after some time. Your baby could be lacking nutrients for a while before you notice any dental issues, and at that point, they are going to need medical attention.

One thing that may happen as the baby’s mouth starts to get sore, is that they may not be able to latch on during feedings because of discomfort. So if the child seems to be having trouble latching on, check their mouth for sores or any bleeding.

14 Brittle Hair

One really good sign of malnutrition is when the baby has thin brittle hair that comes out really easily. Some newborns are born with very little hair, some are born with a full gorgeous head full of it.

If your baby has a full head of hair, it may be difficult to notice that your little one's hair is falling out until it’s already too late. But it will not be impossible.

If your baby has a tiny bit of hair on his or her beautiful head, it will be easier to notice when their hair is coming out. This is especially true since you will be able to see that their hair is looking thinner and thinner. You cannot typically go by this sign alone. You should look for other signs and symptoms that are on this list as well.

13 A Swollen Tongue

The lack of milk will lead to malnutrition which in turn can cause many health issues including a sore and swollen tongue, and once this happens the baby will not eat right anyways. So it is a bad thing all around. Having a swollen tongue would be even worse when a baby is teething; it would be much more painful and make it much harder to eat.

Along with being swollen, they may also get small sores which would be very painful. It may even be mistaken for teething at first. The bad thing is that once you realize their tongue is sore, you will think that that is the reason for them not eating enough, when in reality it started from not getting enough milk in the first place.

12 Less Than 4 Wet Diapers A Day

When a baby doesn’t have enough wet diapers, something is wrong. Babies over six months old should have a wet diaper between 4-6 times in 24 hours. They may be wetter in the mornings, which is expected - this is a sign that they are getting enough milk.

If the baby has less than 4 wet ones a day, mom may want to bring this up to their baby’s doctor.

You do not want your child to be dehydrated, that would cause all sorts of problems. I would call the doctor the very first day that you notice dry diapers. Some people get tired of changing diapers, but having to change your baby multiple times is the sign of a healthy baby. So the more the merrier, keep those faucets flowing.

11 A Swollen Tummy

Some people believe that if you are starving you will always be skinny but that is not true. If a baby is malnourished because of not getting enough milk from their mother, they may have a swollen belly. When a child is lacking certain nutrients they can end up with what is called Kwashiorkor which is the cause of the swollen belly, and it comes from water retention.

Once this happens to them, it is clear that they have gone too long without the proper nutrients. But with regular doctor visits, no child should ever get that bad. They are usually good at catching most issues pretty early on. For this to occur, the baby would have to be lacking proper nutrition for quite some time, and that would almost have to mean that the child is not going to regular doctor appointments.

10 Not Doing #2 Enough

A newborn baby can be doing his/her business up to six times or more a day; if they are not pooping then they might not be getting enough milk, of course, they could also be constipated, so it is a good thing not to assume anything and to just bring it up to the doctor.

As your child gets older, they will begin pooping much less. Babies older than eight weeks can actually go 4-5 days without having a dirty diaper. So the younger they are the more they will go.

Always keep an accurate record of how many times your child goes, and also the texture and color are very important for your doctor.

The color can tell the doctor a lot about the baby’s health, so make sure you write everything down.

9 Dry Skin

Dry skin happens to also be a symptom of the baby being dehydrated so they tend to go hand in hand. The baby’s lips may become chapped and cracked. Typically, his or her skin can also feel cool to the touch, which is more common with the feet and hands - just like with an adult. Putting lotion on your newborn may not even help very much - it is just masking a symptom and isn't actually curing it.

You should try taking your child to the pediatrician for clarification and confirmation that it is related to your baby not getting enough milk. In the meantime, try feeding your baby frequently to see if that helps. This is one of those symptoms as well where you should look for other signs and symptoms so that you can get a better idea of what is going on with your newborn.

8 Not Packing Enough Pounds

Keeping up with your baby’s weight is very important, and your pediatrician will weigh them at every visit. Not all children will grow at the same rate, so it is a little hard to say what is the ideal weight for your child. Although if your child is not gaining any weight, then they are probably not getting enough milk, and there can be a number of reasons for this.

One thing to check for is whether your baby is latching on properly, and if they are, then it could be that you are not producing enough milk for your baby.

Your doctor may end up switching the child to formula if they don’t gain enough weight through breastfeeding, but they do like babies to keep breastfeeding as much as possible though.

7 Unusually Sick

If your child is not getting enough milk from you, they may start showing signs of sickness. If the child has diarrhea, discoloration of the skin, or is vomiting more than normal seek medical attention right away.

I have a grandson who was not gaining any weight for a while and was throwing up everything he ate, the doctor put him on formula and even then had to keep changing it. It turned out that he had a very serious case of acid reflux, was born with an extra heart valve, and has a couple of small holes in his heart that should heal as he grows.

There are other things that can cause a baby to be malnourished besides not getting enough milk. So if you feel like your child does get enough and they are still showing signs of malnourishment, talk to your doctor about other options, because your baby may be showing signs of being ill while he or she is still getting enough milk for nourishment.

6 Not Growing Properly

Babies need a lot of vitamins and minerals from your milk to help them to grow properly. Therefore if your baby isn’t getting enough milk from you then they are not getting the nutrition they need to grow.

You may start to notice the baby getting thinner in their arms and legs, and that is a definite sign that they are malnourished.

If you are taking your child to regular doctor appointments like you are supposed to, then the doctor will probably take notice of this before you will. When you see your child all day, every day it is hard to notice subtle changes. So, anyone outside of the home would be able to notice changes easier. There is a reason the doctors do all that measuring - it's so they will know if the baby’s growth is abnormal.

5 Low Energy

One thing a baby has in common with adults when they are hungry is the lack of energy. If your baby is showing very low energy levels even after feedings then there is a good chance that they are not getting enough milk. Of course, that is not the only reason a baby might seem like it has no energy, but it is a good place to start.

Babies need lots of energy, it takes a lot for them to digest their food, so a short supply of milk could cause some digestive issues as well. A baby needs to be moving around to be growing and staying healthy, and if they are low on energy they will not be as active, and then their muscles will not be developing properly.

4 The Baby Is Always Irritated

When a baby is not getting enough nourishment he or she will become very irritable, just as many of us do when we feel hungry. But you need to keep in mind that there are a great number of things that can make a baby seem irritable just as there are also many things that can cause irritability in an adult. Even though there are different things that can make a baby feel this way, being hungry is usually the main reason for it, and if they act like they are irritated after being fed, then that would be a good indication that they are not getting enough milk, and may need another source of nutrition. But do not make that call yourself, that is something for the doctor to decide.

3 Losing Pounds

Weight loss can be very serious with an infant, and if the child is not getting enough milk then obviously they will lose weight, which if not caught soon enough could cause some very serious health issues.

Newborn babies are not growing in pounds, but instead in ounces. If your baby is getting enough nutrition then they might put on about 5-7 ounces a week from birth to about 6 months.

They should double their birth weight by about 5 months. By the first year, they should triple their birth weight. One comforting thing to keep in mind though is that your doctor will keep a very close eye on your baby’s weight. So any fluctuations and the doc will be on it right away. You should call your baby’s doctor as many times as you need to in order to have some peace of mind, especially if you are a new mom.

2 The Baby Becomes Lethargic

If your baby isn’t getting enough milk from you they might start to become lethargic because of the lack of strength and energy that goes along with malnutrition. Any time your baby seems to be slowing down to the point you know it is not normal, there can be many things wrong and you need to get them to the doctor as soon as you can.

Some moms may not be able to notice right away that their baby is actually lethargic and not just overly tired. That is why new moms need to pay attention to their baby girl or boy so that when something is wrong they are able to pick up on it immediately instead of waiting until the baby is in danger. Lethargy is different from the baby being tired. If you know your baby well you will pick up on it in no time.

1 Signs Of Dehydration

A newborn baby can become very dehydrated from not consuming enough fluids. By this time, they may end up needing medical attention to make sure that they are okay. If the baby is not experiencing diarrhea, then you know the dehydration is not caused by that.

Signs of dehydration in a newborn are not producing enough wet diapers, or if they haven't produced a wet diaper in six to eight hours, they are not producing tears when they cry, their soft spot may appear to have been sunken in a bit more, and their skin may appear to be dry and cool.

One thing you can try to do right away is to try to feed your baby and see if that helps him or her. The results may not be immediate - which is why some moms take their little ones to the pediatrician's office.

References: Livestrong.com, healthofchildren.com, romper.com, babycentre.co.uk

More in Baby Buzz