How do I know that my baby is getting enough milk from breastfeeding?

In the first few days, when you’re in the hospital your baby
should stay with you in your room if there are no complications with the delivery or with your baby’s health. The baby will be sleepy. Don’t expect the baby to wake you up when he or she is hungry. You will have to wake the baby every one to two hours to feed him or her. At first you will be feeding your baby colostrum, your first milk that is precious thick yellowish milk.

Even though it looks like only a small amount, this is the only food your baby needs. In the beginning, you can expect your baby to lose some weight. This is very normal and is not from breastfeeding. As long as the baby doesn’t lose more than 7 to 10% of his or her birth weight during the first three to five days, he is getting enough to eat.

You can tell your baby is getting enough milk by keeping track of the number of wet and dirty diapers. In the first few days, when your milk is low in volume and high in nutrients, your baby will have only 1 or 2 wet diapers a day. After your milk supply has increased, your baby should have 5 to 6 wet diapers and 3 to 4 dirty diapers every day. Consult your pediatrician if you are concerned about your baby’s weight gain. You should visit your pediatrician between three to five days after your baby’s birth, and then again at two to three weeks of age.

This chart shows the minimum number of diapers for most babies. It is fine if your baby has more.

Baby’s Age
Wet Diapers Dirty Diapers
Color and Texture
Day 1 (birth) 1 Thick, tarry and black
Day 2 2 Thick, tarry and black
Day 3 3 Greenish yellow
Day 4 5 – 6 Greenish yellow
Day 5 5 – 6 Seedy, watery mustard color
Day 6 5 – 6 Seedy, watery mustard color
Day 7 5 – 6 Seedy, watery mustard color

After you and your baby go home from the hospital, your baby still needs to eat about every one to two hours and should need several diaper changes. You still may need to wake your baby to feed him or her because babies are usually sleepy for the first month. In the early weeks after birth, you should wake your baby to feed if four hours have passed since the beginning of the feeding. If you are having a hard time waking your baby, you can try undressing or wiping his or her face with a cool washcloth. If your baby falls asleep while breastfeeding, you can try breast compression. As your milk comes in after the baby is born, there will be more and more diaper changes. The baby’s stools will become runny, yellowish, and may have little white bumpy seeds.”

Overall, you can feel confident that your baby is getting enough to eat because your breasts will regulate the amount of milk your baby needs. If your baby needs to eat more or more often, your breasts will increase the amount of milk they produce. To keep up your milk supply when you give bottles of expressed breast milk for feedings, pump your milk when your baby gets a bottle of breast milk.