Is My Breastfed Baby Getting Enough Milk?

From LLL in VA/WV References

Whether or not baby is getting enough milk is one of the most common concerns of new moms, especially during the early days. Here are some simple ways to check if baby is getting enough.

How often is baby breastfeeding?

A newborn should nurse at least 10–12 times in 24 hours.

You can let your baby decide how long to nurse on each breast. 10–20 minutes is an average amount of time, but it’s fine to let your baby nurse longer if he or she wants to.

Many babies “cluster feed,” which means they nurse very often for a few hours and then sleep for a few hours. The number of feedings in a 24-hour period is more important than the spacing of feedings.

A very sleepy baby may need to be woken every 2–3 hours to nurse.

How much weight is baby gaining?

Your baby may lose some weight (up to 7% of birth weight) during the first few days, but should start gaining by about day 4 and regain his or her birth weight by day 14.

During the first 3 months, your baby should gain about 110–200 grams or 4–7 ounces per week.

Age Weight gain (per week)

0–3 months

4–6 months

6–12 months

4–7 ounces (110–200 grams)

4–5 ounces (110–140 grams)

2–4 ounces (60–110 grams)

How many wet and poopy diapers does baby have each day?

Weight gain is the best indicator of whether your baby is getting enough milk, but the number of wet and poopy diapers your baby has every 24 hours can give you a rough idea of how much your baby is taking in. What goes in must come out!

Age Wet diapers in 24 hours Bowel movements in 24 hours
1-2 days 1–2 wet diapers 1–2 greenish-black, tarry meconium stools
2–6 days 5-6 wet disposable diapers

(6-8 wet cloth diapers)

At least 3 greenish stools (transitioning from green-black meconium to yellow mature milk stools)
6 days–6 weeks 5-6 wet disposable diapers

(6-8 wet cloth diapers)

At least 3–5 very loose or liquidy stools; about 2.5 cm or larger; bright yellow, yellow-orange, or greenish-yellow
6 weeks+ 5-6 wet disposable diapers

(6-8 wet cloth diapers)

Varies; some babies continue to have daily stools, others may go several days between large stools

Sources

  • LLLI Information Sheet, “Is my breastfed baby getting enough milk?”, release date 2008.