Wouldn’t it be nice if your breasts were equipped with little gauges that indicated how much milk was removed when your baby ate? Fortunately there are other ways to measure milk intake when a baby is breastfeeding.
Your baby should eat at least 8 times every 24 hours. You will see and hear swallows when he’s breastfeeding. A swallow sounds like a softly whispered “kuh” as air is released from his nose. Swallows will be infrequent immediately after birth, but will gradually increase to about 1 swallow per suck around day 4 or 5.
Your baby will be happy and vigorous at the breast—sucking and swallowing rhythmically. When he is finished, your breast(s) will feel softer and your newborn will look content and a little drunk.
What goes in, must come out! A baby should have at least as many wet diapers as his age. A 2-day-old baby should have 2 wet diapers, a 3-day-old baby, 3 wet diapers and so on. After day 5 your baby needs at least 6 pees per day. The diaper will feel heavy and the urine will be pale yellow or colorless.
Newborn poop is called meconium. It’s sticky and greenish-black. It gradually transitions to breastmilk poop which is yellow and runny with tiny white curds. A well-fed baby will have at least 4 big poops each day after day 4.
Finally…trust your instincts! Nature gave you powerful intuition to help you with mothering. If you ever feel unsure that your baby is not feeding well, check with your Dr. or lactation consultant.
Also see “Never Wake a Sleeping Baby?”
Written by Renee Beebe, M.Ed., IBCLC. Renee is a lactation consultant in private practice in Seattle, Washington. She is available for home/hospital visits and phone consultations. Renee can be reached at