Is my baby getting enough milk?

How do I know if my baby is getting enough breastmilk?

If your baby shows the following signs then it is likely that you do have enough milk.

  • At least 6 very wet cloth nappies or at least 5 very wet disposable nappies in 24 hours. The urine should be odourless and clear/very pale in colour. Strong, dark urine suggest that the baby needs more breastmilk and you should seek medical advice.
  • A young baby will usually have 3 or more soft or runny bowel movements each day for several weeks. An older baby is likely to have fewer bowel movements than this. Formed bowel motions suggest that the baby needs more breastmilk and you should seek medical advice.
  • Some weight gain and growth in length and head circumference.
  • Good skin colour and muscle tone. Does she look like she fits her skin? If you gently ‘pinch’ her skin, it should spring back into place.
  • Your baby is alert and reasonably contented and does not want to feed constantly. It is however normal for babies to have times when they feed more frequently. See the Fussy babies — is it the arsenic hour? and the Fussy periods and wonder weeks articles on this website. It is also normal for babies to wake for night feeds. Some babies sleep through the night at an early age while others wake during the night for some time.

A newborn's nappies

Wide variation exists in what is seen in a newborn's nappies. The following gives a general guide as to what might be seen.

The first bowel motions a baby has are black and sticky. This is from the meconium present in the baby's digestive tract before birth. By day 2, the bowel motions should be softer but still dark in colour. Over the next few days, the bowel motions change to a greenish-brown and then to a mustard-yellow. As the colour changes they become less sticky and larger in volume.

A baby should have at least 1 wet nappy on day one, at least 2 on day two, at least 3 on day three, at least 4 on day four and at least 5 on day five. From day 5 onwards, the information above is relevant.

Over the first few days, salts of uric acid in your baby's wee may leave a rusty, orange-red stain on the nappy. This is normal during this time. If you see this after day 4, consult a medical adviser.

The Normal Nappies chart contains further information and pictures about newborn nappies.

 © Australian Breastfeeding Association May 2017

Last reviewed: 
Aug 2017