When you first start breastfeeding, you may wonder if your baby is getting enough milk.
Don’t worry if your baby seems like they want to feed all the time. It is exhausting but it’s actually completely normal – your baby is trying to get as much milk as he can by stimulating your supply.
Each time baby feeds they are letting your body know how much to produce. Feed baby often to keep milk flowing, every two hours or sooner, including at night.
Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby and digested quickly. In the first few days your baby will take very little breast milk, their tummy is only the size of a cherry. Around day three to four, your breasts will fill with even more milk, in response to your baby's feeding patterns and growing tummy.
Keep your baby close to you so that you start to recognise the signals he makes to tell you he is hungry. Responding to your baby will make him feel safe.
There are some reassuring signs you can look out for to show you everything is ok and if not, where to go for support.
The contents of your baby’s nappy are a great indicator that all is going well. If your baby is pooing and weeing, these are great signs they are getting all the milk they need. It’s normal for breastfed babies to pass loose stools.
Baby’s poo starts out black at birth (this is called meconium) but will change to a yellow or mustard colour by day four/five.
- First 48 hours: one to two wet nappies and at least one meconium per day.
- Day three to four: three or more wet nappies, two or more stools changing to a lighter, runnier, brown or greenish colour per day.
- From day four and for first few weeks: baby will pass two yellow stools every day. These should be at least the size of a £2 coin.
- From day seven: six or more wet nappies per day.
Breastfeeding is a skill you and the baby learn together and the first few weeks can be hard, don’t worry about asking questions or feeling unsure, there is plenty of support for you via your midwife, health visitor or breastfeeding supporters. Use the checklist below to look at how you and baby are getting on with feeding. If you don't tick all the boxes, then reach out for support!
- Breastfeeding doesn't hurt. It can be uncomfortable the first few days as your body adjusts but should not be sore.
- Your baby has 8 feeds or more in 24 hours after the first day.
- Your baby feeds between 5 and 40 minutes at each feed.
- Your baby has normal skin colour.
- Your baby is generally calm and relaxed when feeding and is content after most feeds.
- Your baby has wet and dirty nappies.
- When your baby is 3-4 days old and beyond you should be able to hear your baby swallowing during the feed.
- Your midwife will be monitoring baby’s weight in the early days – it is normal for babies to lose up to 7% of their birth weight but they should have regained this by 2 weeks.
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