There’s a lot for you and your baby to learn when you start breastfeeding and sometimes it’s hard to know whether you’re worrying about something that’s perfectly normal. This checklist can help set your mind at rest. However, if you have any concerns about your baby's nappies, behaviour or weight, or if you have any concerns about your milk supply, be sure to speak to your midwife or health visitor.
Checklist for effective feeding
Your baby has 8 feeds or more in 24 hours ✓
Your baby is feeding for between 5 and 40 minutes at each feed ✓
Your baby has normal skin colour ✓
Your baby is generally calm and relaxed when feeding and is content after most feeds ✓
Your baby has wet and dirty nappies ✓
Breastfeeding doesn't hurt ✓
When your baby is 3-4 days old and beyond you should be able to hear your baby swallowing frequently during the feed ✓
If you don't tick all the boxes, then speak to your healthcare professional as soon as you can.
From a day old your baby should be having wet and dirty nappies, you can check what you should expect to see in the image and chart below.
|Baby's age||Wet nappies||Dirty nappies|
|1-2 days old||1-2 or more per day - may be pink in colour because of urates*||1 or more dark green/black ‘tar like’ called meconium|
|3-4 days old||3 or more per day nappies feel heavier||
At least 2, changing in colour and consistency – brown/green/yellow, becoming looser (‘changing stool’)
|5-6 days old||5 or more heavy wet**||At least 2, yellow; may be quite watery|
|7 days to 28 days old||6 or more heavy wet||At least 2, at least the size of a £2 coin yellow and watery, ‘seedy’ appearance|
*Urates are a dark pink/red substance that many babies pass in the first couple of days. If they are still pink in colour beyond the first couple of days you should tell your midwife as it may be a sign your baby is not getting enough milk.
** With new disposable nappies it's often hard to tell if they're wet, so to get an idea if how much is enough urine, take a nappy and add 2-4 tablespoons of water. This will give you an idea of what to look and feel for.
You can download and print the full Feeding Assessment here and find out more about newborn feeding here.