The most common concern that you will have with your newborn is if the baby is getting enough to eat. Unfortunately if you are breastfeeding, there are no ounce markers on the breast for you to measure the exact amounts your baby is eating. This can be unnerving at times. There are many clues, though, that indicate when everything is going well.

Baby cues

Newborns eat at least 8 to 12 times every 24 hours – that’s a lot of feedings! Be attentive to your baby’s early feeding cues: lip smacking, mouth opening, and hand to mouth. Often babies use crying as a last indicator that it’s time to eat.

Wet diapers

Baby’s diapers are a great indicator of whether or not they are getting enough to eat. In general, newborns will follow a pattern of wet diapers the first few days:

  • wet diaper in the first 24 hours after birth
  • wet diapers on the second day of life
  • wet diapers on the third day of life
  • to 8 wet diapers of urine that is light yellow in color once milk is in greater supply

Stool diapers

Breastfed newborns should be having bowel movements at least twice a day and may poop following each feeding. Babies will be passing meconium for the first 1 to 2 days. Meconium is the first stool of an infant, often black and tar-like in substance.

As the days go on, stool changes to mustard color, runny and seedy in texture once the milk is in greater supply. The baby should have 3 to 4 of these stools per day in the first month.

Weight gain

Weight gain is also an important clue to your baby’s healthcare provider that the baby is feeding well. From birth to age 6 months, a baby might gain 5 to 7 ounces a week. Expect your baby to double his or her birth weight by about age 5 months.

It’s a good idea to keep track of your baby’s diapers and feedings. You can do this the old paper and pencil way, or there are now many apps available for free download that easily keep track of this information for you.

If you are concerned for your child’s health, call EIRMC’s free Consult-A-Nurse for expert advice, available 24/7, at (208) 497-6167.