What To Expect When You Start Breastfeeding – Breastfeeding moms should know one thing: it is not possible to nurse too much, but you can nurse too little.

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What To Expect When You Start Breastfeeding – When Should I Nurse?

What To Expect When You Start Breastfeeding

Nursing moms should strive to nurse at least 10-12 times during a 24 hour period.

Do not wait until your baby starts to cry.

Look for signs of rooting or movement of the mouth and tongue.

Allow the baby to suck at one breast as long as they want, then offer the other breast.

Remember, newborns can be extremely sleepy at first.

Wake babies to nurse every two hours during the day and every four hours at night.

What To Expect When You Start Breastfeeding – Wet Diapers

Wet Diapers For Infants

In the first week of life, an exclusively breastfed newborn will have fewer wet diapers.

But as the supply of breast milk increases, your baby will produce more urine resulting in more wet diapers.

Once the mother’s milk comes in, expect five to six wet diapers per 24 hours.

For newborns, it may be difficult to determine if a diaper is wet.

To get an idea of what a newborn’s wet diaper should feel like, pour three tablespoons of water into a clean diaper.

Another way to tell is to touch the diaper with a piece of tissue and see if it is wet.

Some Newborns can urinate up to 20 times per day which is perfectly normal. Diaper changes should be done approximately every two to three hours or before or after each feeding [1].

As a baby gets older, they will pee less frequently but in larger amounts [2].

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What To Expect When You Start Breastfeeding – Bowel Movements

Bowel Movements With Breastfeeding

Typically, newborns have one dirty diaper for each day of life until the fourth day.

Stools then turn yellow.

Your baby should have at least three to four bowel movements daily that are about the size of a quarter.

The waste is soft to runny and may be seedy.

Babies may have a bowel movement every time they nurse or even more often.

[After Six Weeks]  After four to six weeks, your baby may have fewer bowel movements. In fact, some babies have a stool only seven to ten days.

What To Expect When You Start Breastfeeding – Weight Gain

Breastfeeding And Infant Weight Gaining

It is not unusual for newborns to lose up to 7% of their birth weight in the first few days after birth.

After the mother starts lactating, the average breastfed baby gains 6 oz. per week.

Usually, there is a weight check at the end of the first week of life to if the baby is getting enough food.

[After Six Weeks]  Baby should continue to gain 6 oz. per week.

What To Expect When You Start Breastfeeding – Breast Changes In The Lactating Mother

Breast Changes In The Lactating Mother

Milk starts to “come in” between two to five days after birth. Initially, a mother’s body releases colostrum.

Colostrum has many antibodies and is very high in protein. After the colostrum stops, mature milk will start to flow.

To protect against engorgement, never skip feedings. Ensure proper positioning and latching.

Let your baby finish the first breast, then offer the second.

If engorgement does occur, use cold cabbage leaves as compresses to cover the breast.

Should your baby have a hard time latching onto your breast, express milk until the nipple is soft.

If your baby is gaining weight well on your milk alone, there is no need to worry about supplementing.

Between weight checks, keep track of wet and dirty diapers to assess your baby’s intake.

When Is It Recommended To Call The Doctor?

Call your doctor if the following occurs;

  • No wet or dirty diapers
  • Dark urine after day three (urine should be pale yellow to clear)
  • Dark bowel movements after day four (stool should be mustard yellow in color, with no meconium)
  • Fewer wet or soiled diapers than listed above
  • Mother exhibits signs of mastitis: sore breasts with chills, fever and flu-like aching

Tips for Breastfeeding After the Second Week;

  • Nurse at the first sign of hunger
  • Allow unlimited time, and offer both breasts
  • Baby should feed every two hours during the day and every four hours at night[1]

As your baby grows, you may notice;

  • Varying nursing patterns from day to day
  • Cluster nursing: frequent or constant nursing for several hours each day (it is not unusual for this to coincide with the typical “fussy time” that babies often experience)
  • Common growth spurts occur at 7-10 days, 2-3 weeks, and 4-6 weeks when babies nurse more often and act very fussy

Everything You Need To Know About Breastfeeding

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[1]  VeryWellFamily;  The Common Questions About Baby Urination, Donna Murray, RN, BSN.
[3]  Dr Paul; Diaper Signs: What’s Normal and What’s Not, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis.

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