Find out if your newborn is meeting his nutritional needs.

By Paula M. Elbirt, MD
October 03, 2005

It's not unusual for new parents to be concerned about their baby's weight gain. If you're worried that your newborn isn't eating enough, here are some things to keep in mind when gauging your baby's eating habits.

1. All newborns lose some weight in the first few days after birth. This is a result of the baby shedding extra fluid. Although a baby may lose as much as 10 percent of her birth weight in the first week with no harmful effects, she should regain the weight by the end of the second week of life.

2. If you're bottlefeeding, it's easy to tell whether baby is eating enough. You have the opportunity to measure out formula for her daily feedings.

3. If you're breastfeeding, the amount she's drinking may be difficult to gauge. But rest assured: The breast milk your baby receives in the first few days after delivery is both nutritionally and calorically rich (and full of antibodies that help protect her from infection).

4. Three to four days after delivery, you can tell if your baby is eating enough by checking her diapers. She should have about six to eight wet diapers a day. If you're using disposables it can be hard to tell because they're so absorbent; put a tissue inside the diaper to check for wetness.

5. In the first month, a breastfeeding baby should pass at least three stools a day. She may have a bowel movement each time she nurses. Normal stools are soft and yellowish.

6. A bottlefed baby may have fewer bowel movements than a nursing newborn. The color can range from yellow to brownish green; they're soft as well, but usually better formed than the stools of a breastfed baby.

7. If your baby is steadily gaining weight and appears content after feedings, then she's getting enough to eat. If you're still worried, check with your pediatrician or a lactation consultant.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

American Baby


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