When you're breastfeeding, you might worry that your baby is getting enough to eat. It’s difficult because nursing moms can’t measure exactly how much milk their newborns take. These tips can help you feel confident that your baby is well-nourished.
1. Wet diapers and bowel movements.
For the first few days after birth, the number of wet diapers increases each day, starting with one wet diaper in the first 24 hours. By the sixth day after birth, your baby should have at least six wet diapers a day and three or more bowel movements a day. The urine should be pale yellow or clear rather than dark or amber color. The stool will be dark and sticky for the first couple of days, eventually becoming seedy, loose and golden yellow. An easy way to see what a wet diaper feels like is to pour 2 to 4 tablespoons of water into a dry diaper!
2. How are the nursing sessions?
Nursing babies eat 8 to 12 timers per day in the first few weeks of life. That’s every 1½ to 3 hours! You may have to wake your baby in the first week or two. When the baby is done nursing, you may see milk in the baby’s mouth and the baby should be content. Your breasts may feel softer and your baby should sleep for 1 to 3 hours. If you listen closely, you will hear and can see a gentle swallow after every 3 or 4 sucks.
3. Weight gain.
Most babies lose weight after birth but should start gaining weight by the third or fourth day and be back to their birth weight by 10 days to two weeks. Your baby will be weighed at every pediatrician visit. Additionally, your baby should have a good, strong cry and have periods of being active and alert in-between feedings.
When to Call Your Doctor
You know your baby best. If you sense something isn't right, contact your baby's doctor. Especially call if your baby:
- Isn't wetting at least six diapers a day
- Isn't having regular bowel movements
- Passes urine that's deep yellow or orange
- Passes stools that are hard and dry
- Is consistently fussy after feedings
- Seems sleepy all the time
- Has yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Isn't interested in breastfeeding
- Spits up forcefully or more than a small amount at a time
- Isn't gaining weight
Remember, every baby and every nursing experience is unique. Trust your body’s ability to provide adequate milk for your baby. Using the above guidelines, you can be confident that you're meeting your baby’s nutritional needs and getting him or her off to the best start.
Additional articles of interest:
- “The Formula For Successful Breastfeeding”
- Breastfeeding After Your Baby Gets Teeth (American Academy of Pediatrics)
Call (866) MY-LI-DOC (866-695-4362) to find a Catholic Health physician near you.