Even if this is your second or third baby, it can be hard to know at first whether your breast-fed infant is getting enough to eat. You’ll know your baby is getting enough breast milk when:
- Your baby nurses eight to 12 times in a 24-hour period, and you can tell he or she has swallowed.
- Your baby has three to five bowel movements daily by the time he or she is five days old. His or her first stools, called meconium, are smooth, black and sticky. The stools of a breastfed baby will be soft and unformed. They will change color from black to green to yellow over the first week. After the first six weeks, the frequency of stools may decline, but the amount increases.
- Your baby has six to eight wet diapers a day by the time she or he is five to seven days old. As a guide, baby should wet at least 1 diaper on day 1, at least 2 diapers on day 2, 3 diapers on day 3.
- Most newborns lose weight during the early days of life. Your baby will quickly regain the weight and should be at birth weight or heavier by two weeks of age. The typical weight gain for the first three months of life is four to eight ounces per week.
Seek professional assistance with breastfeeding if:
- Your baby is not latching on to your breast.
- Your baby is not nursing eight to 12 times in 24 hours and swallowing.
- You have persistent or worsening sore nipples.
- Your baby’s urine and stool output is less than the output for a healthy baby during the first few weeks of life (3-5 bowel movements, 6-8 wet diapers).
- Breastfeeding is painful throughout the feeding (expect some tenderness at the beginning of feedings during the early days).
- You experience unrelieved engorgement in one or both breasts.
- You have a fever, flu-like symptoms (body aches) and/or a reddened, tender area in your breast.