What Goes In, Must Come Out

What goes in must come out… Right?

How do I know my baby is getting enough? This question comes up over and over again, especially in the first week when the signs of a satisfied baby or a good feeding are not yet known by parents nor recognized.

At about day 3 after birth your baby will begin to drink larger volumes of breast milk each feeding, about half an ounce, maybe even an ounce every hour to every few hours. This may take your baby about 10-20 minutes on each breasts, maybe a bit longer, or shorter for some feedings.

So, how do you really know baby is getting enough? Three things really tell you that your baby is getting enough during the first week. Wet diapers, poopy diapers and how many times she breastfeeds in a 24 hour period.

You should see AT LEAST:

Day 1: 1 wet diaper

Day 2: 2 wet diapers

Day 3: 3 wet diapers

Day 4: 4 wet diapers

Day 5: 5 wet diapers

Day 6: 6 wet diapers

Day 7+: 6 soaking wet diapers every day

Day 1: Black tarry stool (meconium)

After Day 1 you should see several stools a day

Day 2: Brownish stool

Day 3: Brownish, yellowish or green stool, more watery (transitional stool)

Day 4: Dark yellow or green soft or watery stool

Day 5: Mustard color, yellow, semi-liquid, watery stool.

Some baby’s have a poopy diaper after every feeding. Stools taper off and your baby may not even have a stool every day as she gets older.

Signs of a good feeding:

  1. Easy latch-on, your baby stays latched on
  2. Your breasts feel softer after the feeding
  3. Your baby’s sucks feel like strong pulls, not pinching or biting
  4. You see milk in your baby’s mouth
  5. You start to leak from the other breast
  6. Your baby is actively sucking for at least 20 minutes

Signs your baby is full or done breastfeeding

  1. She maintains active sucking for at least 20 minutes
  2. She becomes drowsy or sleepy after breastfeeding
  3. She comes off the breast spontaneously
  4. Her hands, shoulders and back appear relaxed.
  5. She sleeps for a period of time after breastfeeding before arousing to feed again (after day 3, as cluster and marathon feeding are normal and expected, especially on days 2-3).

Signs your baby is hungry:

  1. She shows mouthing movements, opening and closing her mouth, sticking her tongue out
  2. She starts rooting, moving her head back and forth, looking for the breast
  3. She moves her hands to her mouth, or tries to eat her swaddle blanket
  4. Crying. This is a late hunger cue and we always try to put baby to breast before she starts crying as it can be difficult to get a crying baby to latch!

Please see your Lactation Consultant or provider if:

  1. Your baby has not regained her birth weight by 2 weeks after birth.
  2. Your baby is not voiding (peeing) at least 6 times a day after she is 6 days old
  3. Your baby is not having several stools a day.

We know that every baby is different, and as new parents, you will find out what your baby does to tell you she is hungry or wants to nurse.


  1. Bekkali N, et al. Infant stool form scale: Development and results. Journal of Pediatrics. 2009;154:521
  2. Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 27, 2015.
  3. Lowdermilk, D, Perry, S., Casion, K., & Rhodes, K. (2012). Maternity and Women’s Health Care. (10thed.). St: Louis, MO: Elsevier Inc.


Please be aware that this information provided is intended solely for general informational and educational purposes and is not intended to be substituted for professional medical advice. Always see the advice of your physician or medical provider for any questions you may have regarding your or your baby’s medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have received from this website or blog.


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