Here are answers to some questions new mothers often ask.
When it comes to feeding your baby, what goes in must come out. You can tell how much milk your baby is getting by keeping track of the baby’s diapers:
By the first 24 hours after birth: The baby should have 1 to 2 wet diapers and 1 to 2 soiled (poopy) diapers. The poop will be dark and tar-like (meconium.)
The second and third day after birth: The baby should have 3 to 4 wet diapers and 2 to 3 soiled diapers. The poop will be greenish brown (transitional stool).
After the first 4 or 5 days: The baby should have at least 5 to 6 wet diapers and at least 3 to 4 soiled diapers a day. The poop will be yellow and loose.
Don’t wait until your baby cries to feed her. Newborns should be nursed as soon as they show any hunger signs. These include:
Increased alertness or activity
Rooting reflex (nuzzling against your breast)
Smacking her lips or opening and closing her mouth
Sucking on her hand or fingers
Crying (late sign)
Feed your baby as often and as long as she wants. Make sure you’re nursing at least 8 to 12 times per day. Some of these feedings might be close together (cluster feeding), and then your baby might rest for several hours. Let your baby nurse as long as she would like; when she is done, she will stop swallowing, relax her hands and fall asleep. If your baby hasn't nursed in 4 hours, you may need to wake your baby and offer her your milk. Newborns tend to be very sleepy and sometimes will not wake to eat. If your baby doesn't seem interested in nursing, place her in just her diaper against your bare skin (skin to skin) and continue to offer her your milk. And, if your baby fusses when feeding, don't worry. Some babies get distracted easily. To calm your baby, choose a quiet place for feeding. It may also help if you breastfeed in the same place in your home each time. If your baby is crying, it may be difficult for her to latch on. Gently place your finger in her mouth to help her feel calm, and then offer her your milk again.
Newborns can't be spoiled. When your baby needs comfort, food, or holding, she'll cry to let you know. When you respond to your baby's needs, you help her learn to trust you. This is a time to shower your baby with love and attend to her needs.
Babies eat a lot. Their stomachs are very small when they are born, and mother's milk is easily and quickly digested. This is even truer during a growth spurt. Growth spurts usually happen around 2 and 6 weeks of age. They happen again at 3 and 6 months. During these times, your baby will breastfeed more often. Don’t be alarmed. Your baby will not need formula or supplements. You will make all the milk that your baby needs because milk production is a "supply and demand" situation (baby's demand will increase mom's supply).