Having a new baby can be thrilling and exciting. It can also be daunting, overwhelming, and confusing for new parents. Since being fed and having a clean diaper are largely a newborn’s only concerns, they also become one of the biggest for new parents. You can expect a minimum of six feedings and ten diapers on average per day. Here are a few tips on breastfeeding, bottle feeding, and clean diapers.
The Newborn Appetite
The suckling reflex kicks in while Baby is still in the womb, which means she’ll start seeking the breast for nourishment right off the bat. Breastfeeding moms and babies may need a little help to get all the positions and latching worked out. In the days before birth, Mom starts producing colostrum until mature milk comes in, usually within a week of birth.
Babies’ stomachs are about the size of a marble initially, which means they empty quickly and need to be often filled -- about every two to four hours during the first month of life. Newborn hunger may be signaled by crying, sucking on his fingers, or rooting or looking for the breast. If this frequently occurs between feedings, Baby may not be receiving enough milk.
Formula feeding families may need a little trial and error to find the best brand. Some babies require formula fortified with iron, while others require a formula for unique issues, such as acid reflux. Formula-fed babies usually need to eat every 2-3 hours for the first month, but others can stretch feedings for 3-4 hours. A baby who gets sufficient milk will be content between feedings -- not fussy or agitated.
Additionally, some moms choose to supplement breastfeeding with a formula for medical reasons (such as the insufficient production of breastmilk) or convenience (not having to pump at work). Most lactation experts recommend waiting about six weeks for Baby and Mom to really get breastfeeding figured out before introducing other types of nipples, bottles and pacifiers included.
The Newborn GI System
For the first day or two of life, babies pass a dark, tarry, black stool called meconium, which accumulates in the baby's system during pregnancy. Once meconium is through, expect seedy, mustard-colored, loose textured stools. Breastfed babies may go through more dirty diapers since breast milk is digested easier and more quickly. However, some breastfed babies may have as few as one dirty diaper a week because they use the contents so efficiently. Expect six to eight wet diapers and one to two dirty diapers a day.
Formula-fed or supplemented babies usually go through about six wet diapers and one to two dirty diapers a day. The stool of formula-fed babies is usually a little more solid and formed. The color may be a darker yellow or brown and will typically have much smellier stools as well. It can be difficult to tell when a newborn has diarrhea since baby stool may be less solid than what you’re used to. There are also small lumps that are not present in diarrhea. A baby with diarrhea will have a sudden change in habits by going more than usual with watery stools.