The first week
How often should I feed baby?
You should be nursing a newborn baby between 10 to 12 times in a 24 period. Frequent nursing reduces engorgement and encourages a good supply of milk. There is no such thing as nursing too often.
Nurse at the first signs of hunger (hands in mouth, nuzzling, stirring) and don’t wait until the baby cries. It is very difficult to get a baby to latch on when they are crying. Allow your baby to feed for as long as they like. If your newborn is very sleepy, wake them to nurse if two hours has passed during the day or four hours at night.
Is baby getting enough milk?
Here is how you know if your baby is getting enough:
Weight gain: A normal newborn might lose up to 7% of birth weight in the first few days, but once milk comes in baby should gain at least 4oz a week.
Dirty nappies: At the beginning, baby will most likely have one dirty nappy for each day of life (1 on day one, 2 on day two etc). After day 4, stools should be yellow. Your baby should have at least 3-4 stools daily. Some babies may produce stools after each feeding but this is normal. The normal stool of a breastfed baby is loose (soft to runny) and may be seedy or curdy.
Wet nappies: At the beginning, baby will most likely have one wet nappy for each day of life (1 on day one, 2 on day two etc). Once mum's milk comes in, expect 5 to 6+ wet nappies every 24 hours. If you are unsure of what a sufficiently wet nappy feels like, pour three tablespoons of water into a clean nappy.
Weeks two through six
How often should baby be feeding?
You should be nursing frequently in the early weeks to establish a good milk supply. Newborns will need to feed 8 to 12+ times within 24 hours.
Frequent nursing in the early weeks is important for establishing a good milk supply. Most newborns need to nurse 8 to 12+ times per day (24 hours). You can't nurse too often but you can nurse too little.
You should expect the following:
Frequent and/or long feedings.
Varying nursing pattern from day to day.
Cluster nursing (very frequent to constant nursing) for several hours—usually evenings—each day. This may coincide with the normal "fussy time" that most babies have in the early months.
Growth spurts, where baby nurses more often than usual for several days and may act very fussy. Common growth spurt times in the early weeks are the first few days at home, 7 to 10 days, 2 to 3 weeks and 4 to 6 weeks.
Is baby getting enough milk?
Weight gain: The average breastfed newborn gains six ounces/ week (170 grams/week).
Dirty nappies: Expect three to four + stools daily. Some babies stool after every time they feed. After 4 to 6 weeks, some babies stool less frequently, with stools as infrequent as one every 7 to 10 days. As long as baby is gaining weight, this is normal.
Wet nappies: Expect 5 to 6+ wet nappies every 24 hours.