Breastfeeding your Newborn - What to Expect the First Few Weeks

I'm no longer in the first few weeks, so I wanted to write about this in hopes of helping other moms who are about to have their baby or just had their baby, so they know what to expect.

The first week: How often should baby be nursing?
- Your newborn will likely be eating at least every hour or so (mine did), so expect him or her to eat 10 - 12 times in a 24 hour time frame.
- Be sure to nurse at the first sign of hunger, which is stirring, rooting, and hands in mouth. Don't wait until baby is crying. 
- Allow baby to nurse for as long as he or she wants to, when sucking actively and if baby still seems hungry offer the other side.

Is baby getting enough milk?
- Weight gain - Babies will usually lose up to 7% of their birth weight in the first few days. Talk with baby's doctor or a lactation consultant if baby isn't gaining weight.
- Dirty diapers- The baby will have a regular dirty diaper usually for each day of life. It's normal though for breastfed babies to not have a dirty diaper for up to 2 weeks, I have been told. 
- Wet diapers- Babies will have a regular wet diaper, especially once mom's milk comes in.

Breast changes
- Your milk should start to come in between day 2 - 5. To minimize engorgement, nurse often and don't skip feedings (even at night). For me personally, I nurse all day and pump once or twice, because I feed our son a 4 oz bottle after 11pm. 
- If you prefer to pump vs nurse when engorged, then feel free. I get a lot more milk in a bottle when I pump while engorged.
- Make sure baby has a good latch and drinks until finished.

Weeks 2 - 6: How often should baby be nursing?
Your baby will be eating 8 - 12 times in a 24 hour time frame. You can never nurse too often unlike what some people may think. You can nurse too little though.

The following things are normal:
- Frequent and/or longer feedings
- Varying nursing patterns from day to day
- Cluster nursing (very frequent to constant nursing)
- Growth spurts


  1. The first few weeks are exhausting! It seems like once you're done nursing, it's time to start again. But I wouldn't trade the bonding for anything.

  2. I wish I had these tips when I was attempting to breastfeed. I struggled so much.

  3. I think another thing that's important is to seek out a lactation consultant if you're struggling. The first few weeks are TOUGH!