You can be reassured that your baby is eating enough and is well nourished when he or she:
- Shows an eager desire and wakes up frequently to breastfeed.
- Rhythmically sucks and swallows milk. The fronts of your baby's ears will move slightly, and you usually will hear swallows.
- Breastfeeds on each breast at each feeding and is content when finished.
- Feeds at least every 1 to 3 hours during the first 2 months. Wake your newborn every 2 to 3 hours for a feeding during the first few days, if needed. After 2 months, your baby will be able to empty the breast more quickly. Feedings will then occur less often and take less time.
- Has regular dirty and wet diapers.
- During the first few days of life, breastfed newborns have about 3 wet diapers a day. After that, they have 6 or more wet diapers a day throughout the first month of life. The number of diapers a baby wets is sometimes hard to know, because disposable diapers work so well at wicking moisture.
- Breastfed babies usually have a small stool after every feeding for about the first 4 to 8 weeks. By the end of the first week, your baby may have as many as 5 to 10 stools a day. This number may go down as your baby eats more and matures during that first month. By 6 weeks of age, your baby may not have a bowel movement every day. This usually is not a problem, as long as the baby seems comfortable and is healthy and growing and as long as the stools are not hard.
- Grows at a normal rate as judged by regular increases in weight, length, and head size. Your baby should appear healthy and happy with good muscle tone, healthy skin, and good color.
Most mothers become more confident that their babies are eating well after a few weeks of breastfeeding. It usually takes some time to establish a routine. You will learn to recognize and respond to your baby's feeding signals.
Current as of: August 3, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology