When your bundle of joy arrives your whole life changes in an instant! And then it keeps changing, and the changes seem to never stop! Did you know that within the first two weeks of life, your baby’s stomach grows from the size of a cherry to the size of an egg? That is a huge difference in size in a very short amount of time! Needless to say, feeding needs will be changing dramatically those first few days, weeks, and months of life. Whenever I felt like I got the hang of my son’s schedule and his needs, he would change it all up on me again! I’ve compiled some basic, helpful facts about breastfeeding for all the sleep deprived mamas out there who are trying to get a handle on what their baby’s food needs are and how to meet them.
The First Days of Breastfeeding
The first milk that your body produces is called colostrum and is a thick and yellow milk. It is often referred to as “liquid gold” because of it’s antioxidants. You can think of it like baby’s first super food! 🙂 It may seem like your baby isn’t getting much, but remember that their stomach is only the size of a cherry, so they don’t need that much the first few days.
Though they may not be getting much milk at a time, they will certainly be nursing often. For the first few weeks, baby will breastfeed 8-12 times a day. This typically means every 2-3 hours over a 24 hour time period. It is important to nurse when the baby is hungry and to let the baby finish before ending the breastfeeding session. Your body will produce the milk baby needs, it learns how to by following the cues of the frequency and length of feeding sessions that the baby is requiring.
How Do I know My Baby is Getting Enough Milk?
When you bring your baby to the first doctor visit after leaving the hospital, it can be concerning to hear that your little one has lost weight. However, most babies do lose a little weight (5-7%) of their birth weight in the first few days. AS long as they have regained their birth weight by 10-14 days old, they are moving in the right direction. To help ease your mind in the mean time, pay attention to the number of wet and dirty diapers that baby is producing. For days 1-4 the wet diaper count should measure at least the same as the day. So that would be one wet diaper on day one, two on day two, etc. For days 5-15 you are looking for at least 6 wet diapers with clear or pale yellow urine. Dark urine or crystals in the diaper may signify dehydration and that baby is not getting enough milk. For days 1-2, baby should have at least 1-2 dirty diapers that are black or dark green in color. From day 3-4, there should be at least 3 dirty diapers that are brown, green, or yellow. Days 5-15 you are looking for at least three soft and seedy dirty diapers.
All the tracking can be overwhelming. There are plenty of apps that you can use to help you track. I felt that going old school was easier and kept track of my son’s diapers, feedings, and sleep schedule on a dry erase board. It is a lot to keep in your head, especially when you are sleep deprived! So, try to find a method of recording that will work well for you.
Consult your child’s pediatrician if you see anything that doesn’t seem right. They are there to help and you are not bothering them by asking important questions about your baby’s health!