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  • Writer's pictureLeticia Lugo

Nutritional Assurance: Recognizing Signs of a Well-Fed Baby

Recognizing that your baby is feeding well is crucial for their growth and development.

Here are some signs that indicate your baby is feeding effectively:

  • Frequent feedings. Newborns typically feed 8-12 times per 24 hours. As they get older, they may feed less often, but they will still nurse for longer periods of time.

  • Satisfied after feedings. After a feeding, your baby should be content and relaxed. They may fall asleep at the breast or burp and fuss a bit before falling asleep.

  • Wet diapers. A newborn should have at least 6 wet diapers per day. As they get older, they may have fewer wet diapers, but the urine should be pale yellow.

  • Stooling. Newborns typically stool after every feeding. As they get older, they may stool less often, but the stool should be soft and yellow.

  • Weight gain. Your baby should gain weight steadily. The amount of weight gain will vary from baby to baby, but they should regain their birth weight by 2 weeks of age and gain about 150-200 grams (5.3-7.1 ounces) per week for the first 3 months.

  • Good latch. When your baby is latched on correctly, you should see their chin touching your breast, their lower lip should be rolled out, and their nose should not be squashed against your breast. You should not feel any pain.

A CAPPA Certified Lactation Educator (CLE) can help support you in your early days of breastfeeding.

Other signs your baby is feeding well:

  • Your baby gains weight steadily after the first 2 weeks, continuing to gain 1 oz per day – it’s normal for babies to lose some of their birth weight in the first 2 weeks.

  • They appear healthy and alert when they’re awake.

Babies have a variety of ways to communicate their hunger. Here are some of the most common hunger cues:

  • Rooting. This is a natural reflex that babies have where they move their tongue in a circular motion against their cheek or lips. This is how they search for a nipple to suck on.

  • Putting their hands to their mouth. This is another way that babies signal that they are hungry. They may also suck on their fingers or fists.

  • Smacking their lips. This is a sign that they are getting ready to eat. Opening their mouth wide. This is a clear sign that they are hungry and ready to be fed.

  • Fussy or restless behavior. Babies may become fussy or restless when they are hungry. They may also cry.

  • Yawning. Yawning is a sign that a baby is tired, but it can also be a sign that they are hungry.

  • Making sucking noises. Babies may make sucking noises even if they don't have a pacifier in their mouth. This is a sign that they are hungry and want to suck.

Here are some tips for responding to your baby's hunger cues:

  1. Be observant. Pay attention to your baby's cues and learn to recognize them.

  2. Be responsive. When your baby shows hunger cues, feed them right away. Don't wait until they start to cry.

  3. Be patient. It may take some time for you to learn to recognize your baby's hunger cues. Be patient and don't get frustrated.

It's important to respond to your baby's hunger cues promptly to prevent them from becoming overly agitated. Feeding your baby when they show these early signs of hunger can help establish a healthy feeding routine and ensure they receive the nutrition they need for growth and development. Keep in mind that every baby is unique, and some may have slightly different hunger cues, so it's essential to get to know your baby's specific signals.

Some signs that your baby may not be getting enough milk:

  • Crying or fussing after feedings.

  • Not gaining weight or gaining weight slowly.

  • Frequent spitting up or vomiting.

  • Dry diapers or fewer than 6 wet diapers per day.

  • Hard or infrequent stools.

  • Not looking alert or interested in feeding.

Remember that every baby is unique, and their nutritional needs may vary. If you have concerns about your baby's nutrition or growth, consult with your pediatrician.


Bonnie Holt Logsdon (2023) How to Know Baby is Getting Enough to Eat at Breast/Chest. Cappa Website.


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