Every baby’s feed will look different, but it is important that a breast/chestfed baby is nursing 8-12 times per 24 hours. Many times, during a nursing session the parent or baby will fall asleep and the feed will take longer than usual. It is important to notice if the baby’s latch is still strong with active suckling. A huge indicator of adequate milk intake is diaper output, content demeanor, and appropriate weight gain in the baby.
It is always important to notice if baby is getting enough milk or if intake needs to be supplemented. In the first 24 hours, the baby should have one wet diaper and a poop diaper. On day two baby should have two wet diapers and two bowel movements. One day three baby should have 3 wet diapers and 3 stools that are getting lighter in color. By day 5 baby should have at least 6 heavy wet, clear urine diapers and 4+ yellow seedy stools. The baby should be nursing 8-12 times a day and should eat every 2-3 hours. If the baby is sleeping, the baby should be wakened during the day and at night (until the pediatrician says otherwise) for a feed. If mom and dad notice baby is not having the number of wet diapers or bowel movements as they should be, then they should contact their doctor immediately. Formula may need to be supplemented or more intake of expressed milk via bottle.
Infants often snack on the breast/chest or use them for comfort. It is important to realize the difference between a snack and a full feed. Each day will be different how long the baby will nurse. It may take a few days to weeks for mom to learn the baby’s eating pattern and schedule.
Newborns will usually eat anywhere from 30-40 minutes each session. It is important that baby is fully awake, so they eat efficiently. This may mean you need to undress baby, so they are not too warm and cozy. Once the baby is done on one side, the parent should burp baby and try the other side. If baby is asleep the parents can tickle their feet or stroke their back to try to wake them. Most babies need both breast/chests, while others get what they need from one. In the evenings, many newborns will cluster feed, which means they eat more often closer together.
For more information on adequate milk intake check out www.ncta.online. The online course Adequate intake for birth-4 months and the Newborn Care Specialist workshop will provide you with more information on how much milk your newborn should be receiving and how to know they are receiving enough.