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How can I tell if my baby is getting enough to eat?

Your baby should be gaining weight. Newborns often lose weight in the first few days of life but most return to their birthweight by 2 weeks of age. After a baby returns to his birthweight, he should gain about 4 to 8 ounces a week. Make sure you keep your doctor’s appointments so you can see if your baby is gaining weight.

Your baby should be nursing often. Newborn babies have a tiny stomach, about the size of their fist. That is why they nurse so often.

Newborns should:

  • nurse at least 8 to 12 times a day or every 1 – 3 hours during the day, and
  • have no more than one four-hour sleep period in 24 hours.

Many babies will cluster feed, or nurse almost constantly, at one time of the day. Most babies do this in the evening. This is completely normal. It does not mean you don’t have enough milk. The more frequently you nurse your baby, the more milk you will make.

Your baby should have plenty of wet and dirty diapers. Check the chart below to see if your baby is dirtying enough diapers.

A newborn’s urine should be colorless. A newborn’s stools are usually black in the first day or two, greenish for a day or two, then yellowish and seedy by day four or so. An occasional green stool after this period is also normal. By day six, many breastfed babies will dirty almost every diaper. This is normal because breastmilk is very gentle and easily passed through the baby’s system.

  Wet Diapers Dirty Diapers
Day 1 1 1 (black, tarry)
Day 2 2 2 (brownish black, tarry)
Day 3 3 3 (greenish)
Day 4 4 3 or more (greenish to yellow)
Day 5 5 3 or more (yellow)
Day 6 to Day 45 6 or more 3 or more (yellow)
Do You Have Questions About Breastfeeding? Contact Your Local WIC or Call the
Breastfeeding Hotline
mom and baby