As you care for your newborn, you'll develop a bond, and start to understand "what's normal" and what's not, with your baby. Eating properly is a big part of this, which I'll cover today in Breastfeeding 101.
It won't be long before you identify and understand the different sounds and gestures your baby makes. Babies generally need at least 10 to 12 feedings in a 24-hour period. But remember that each baby is different, and looking for feeding cues is the most important part of feeding your baby properly.
When the baby is hungry, signs to look for include: putting hands to mouth; sucking sounds; the tongue coming out and licking things; head moving around in search of the breast, also known as rooting; and fussiness. Crying is a late stage sign of hunger.
While feeding, you also might wonder if your baby is getting enough milk. Often, people in your life who are not supportive of breastfeeding will attribute any kind of fussiness or crying to your baby being hungry. But don’t get drawn in by this breastfeeding myth. While there is no way of knowing just how much milk the baby is getting from the breast, continuous weight gain and alertness is an indication that the baby is getting enough.
Diapers are another good indicator that your baby is being properly nourished. Wet diapers indicate good hydration, while poop diapers indicate enough calories. By day four, moms and dads should be changing at least four poop diapers, and four to five wet diapers each day. By day seven, the amount of wet diapers will increase to 6 to 8 wet diapers a day.
Familiarize yourself with how a dry disposable diaper feels both wet and dry so you can feel a little more secure with recognizing a wet ultra-absorbent diaper. Don’t be alarmed by the appearance of baby’s poop, as it will change during the first few days from black and tarry to green to yellow and can look seedy. If you have any questions or concerns, contact your pediatrician or lactation counselor.