It's funny. . . you are breastfeeding your baby because it's the best choice for you and her, yet you are still getting criticism. If your baby is roly-poly and bouncy, people say you're “overfeeding". If she's slim and petite, people accuse you of starving her! What's a nursing Mom to do? What should a healthy breastfed baby look like?
First of all, relax. If you're nursing baby when she indicates a desire to, limiting artificial nipples and supplemental bottles and not trying to stick to strict schedules (schedules are not appropriate for breastfed babies and can lead to failure to thrive), your baby will likely be the size she is supposed to be.
It is technically impossible to overfeed a breastfed baby. Babies adjust the time spent at the breast with their current caloric needs. If you limit the time your baby spends nursing you may deprive him of the fattier “hindmilk" that comes in later in the nursing session.
Genetics play a role in growth. Ask your Mom and Mother in Law how you and baby's Dad looked as infants. You will likely find a pattern there.
One good indicator of whether baby is getting enough milk is her “output". What comes out must have gone in! Ask your Pediatrician or a La Leche League leader how many wet and dirty diapers your baby should be producing at her age.
A baby who is getting enough milk will be happy, active, meeting developmental milestones on schedule and her length and head circumference will be steadily increasing. Her skin will also be firm and healthy looking and her eyes bright.
Don't be overly concerned if your little one isn't nursing the same number of times per day as your friend's baby. Babies differ in temperament and they also have different breastfeeding styles.
Some babies seem to want to be attached to the breast all the time. Others get down to business and don't nurse for comfort very often. Some are more dainty with their meals and like to snack, nap, snack, nap. Some babies are roly poly and bouncing, others, petite and perfect.
Stop worrying so much, enjoy the nursing sessions with your baby, and offer the breast frequently.
Also- don't be obsessed over baby poop. Some babies just don't follow the “perfect" pooping schedule that you read about. Some have a small offering with each diaper change. Others go a few days inbetween, but watch out when they do go- they typically make up in quantity what they lack in frequency!
If baby is gaining well and growing, she's fine. Relax and enjoy your baby. Remember, breastfeeding is supposed to be fun!
Carrie Lauth is the mom of 4 breastfed babies (not all at the same time, mind you!) who hosts http://www.NaturalMomsTalkRadio.com Listen in while you browse more breastfeeding tips at http://www.SexyNursingBra.com