Signs of Breastfeeding Well
Almost all mothers go through a period when they think they don’t have enough breast milk.
Sometimes mothers worry about this when their baby is just born. Other times it is after breastfeeding is well established. The good news is that most women have more than enough breast milk to feed their baby.
Having your baby breastfeed well and often in the first week will help you to build a healthy breast milk supply. Breastfeed your baby at least 8 times in 24 hours (day and night).
Remember breastfeeding is a learned skill for mothers and babies. It requires patience and practice. Get help right away if your baby is not showing signs of breastfeeding well.
- You will feel: your breast being pulled with no pain
- You will hear: your baby swallowing (a quiet, exhaled kaa kaa kaa)
- You will see:
- A wide open mouth
- Curled out lips
- Chin pressed into your breast
- Sucking and swallowing (Quick and shallow at the beginning and deep and slow as the breast milk starts to flow)
At all ages urine should be clear to pale yellow with almost no smell.
|Baby’s Age||Wet Diapers Each Day||Stools Each Day|
|1 day old||At least 1 wet diaper (a wet diaper feels like at least 2 tablespoons or 30 ml of water poured on a dry diaper).||At least 1 – 2 sticky dark green/black stools (meconium).|
|2 days old||At least 2 wet diapers.||At least 1 – 2 sticky dark green/black stools (meconium).|
|3 days old||At least 3 heavy wet diapers (a heavy wet diaper feels like at least 3 tablespoons or 45 ml of water on a dry diaper).||3 or more brown/green/yellow stools.|
|4 days old||At least 4 heavy wet diapers.||3 or more brown/green/yellow stools.|
|5 – 6 days old||At least 6 heavy wet diapers.||3 or more large, soft, yellow, seedy stools (a large stool is the size of a quarter or larger).
Baby should not be passing any meconium at this age.
|6 weeks – 6 months||At least 6 heavy wet diapers.||3 – 4 per day or 1 large, soft, yellow seedy stool per week.
After 6 weeks some breastfed babies may have 1 very large yellow stool every 1 – 7 days. This is normal as long as the stool is soft like toothpaste, or seedy, and watery, and your baby is healthy. It is also normal for some breastfed babies to have many stools each day.
See Best Start’s resource, Breastfeeding your baby: guidelines for nursing mothers (PDF).
- Breastfed babies may lose 7% or less of their birth weight in the first 3 days after birth
- Should return to their birth weight by 10 days of age
- Should show a pattern of weight gain by day 5
- Should gain at least 20-35 grams (2/3-11/4 oz) a day in the first 3-4 months of age
- Your baby has a loud cry
- Your baby’s mouth is wet and pink
- Your baby’s eyes look alert
- Your baby moves actively
- Your baby comes off the breast looking relaxed and sleepy
- Your breasts feel softer and less full after breastfeeding
Video: Baby’s Feeding Cues and Behaviours(Transcripts)
Reproduced with permission from the Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Health and Perinatal Services BC