the breastfeeding triad project
 
 
Breastfeeding 101 New Dads TroubleshootResources Evaluate this Site

What's Normal?

Babies display a very wide range of behaviors; with time you will learn what is normal for your child. But, there are certain behaviors that are warning signs that you should contact a pediatrician or lactation consultant.

 

line

happy baby Weight Change Patterns

WHAT IS NORMAL?
WHAT IS NOT NORMAL?
  • Losing ~5-7% of birth weight during the first 2 days after birth (this is partially due to normative water loss)
  • Regaining the lost weight by the second week
  • Gaining approximately 30-40 grams per day
  • Doubling birth weight by 6 months of age

 

  • Losing more than 7% of birth weight during the first days after birth
  • Failure to gain weight by day 5
  • Failure to regain lost birth weight by the end of the second week
  • Failure to gain more than 20 grams per day after birth weight is regained

What's the best way to track my infant's growth?

line

Crying

WHAT IS NORMAL?
WHAT IS NOT NORMAL?
  • Little to no crying,
  • A whole lot of crying,
  • And anything in between!
  • Crying that is constant and unsoothable
Note: Infants cry to communicate, and each infant is different in how much, how loud and how long they cry. So, although it can be jarring, try not to get too worried about a crying infant, she is typically just telling you he needs something.
Note: Although this is not an outright danger or completely abnormal, it is a sign of what some people call "colic." It is still unknown exactly what causes an infant to be colicky; it might be stomach pain due to gas, indigestion or allergies, or it might be other causes.

Colicky infants need extra patience from their parents, but don't feel bad taking a break if you need one! A colicky infant can be extra stressful, so reach out to others to help you look after and care for your infant if you are getting burnt out.

For techniques concerning how to calm your crying infant, download this Hush Little Baby flier from the Department of Health.

line

burp Feeding

WHAT IS NORMAL?
WHAT IS NOT NORMAL?
  • Letting your infant feed on demand
  • Letting your infant decide on how long a feeding will last*

The First Week:

  • Feeding every 1.5-2.5 hours (10-12 times per day)
  • Nursing 5-30 minutes on each side

Weeks 2 - 6:

  • Feeding every 1.5-3 hours (8-12 times per day)
  • Nursing ~20 minutes total

Weeks 6 - 12:

  • Feeding every 2-3 hours (7-10 times per day)
  • Nursing ~10-15 minutes per side

3 - 6 months:

  • Feeding every 2-4 hours (6-8 times per day)
  • Nursing ~10-15 minutes per side

Cluster feeding:

  • Feeding closer together at certain times of day and going longer between feedings other times of day
  • Often occurs at night and is followed by a long sleep
  • Your infant is not waking himself to feed at least 8 times in a 24 hour period
  • Your infant is lethargic and not eager to feed
  • You are not able to hear or feel your infant swallowing

*Every infant is different when it comes to how often and how long he will feed. Let your infant tell you when he wants to feed and when he wants to be done. To learn about the cues he uses to signal these things, click here.

Some of this information was adapted from the PA Department of Health "What is Normal when Nursing" handout. Click the link to download this file for more information.

(Back to top)

line

sleeping Sleeping

WHAT IS NORMAL?
WHAT IS NOT NORMAL?
  • An awake and alert state for the first two hours after birth
  • Falling into a long sleep (alternating between light and deep sleep) for the next 20 hours
  • Exhibiting increasing wakefulness towards the end of the first day after birth
  • Sleeping for periods of 2 to 3 hours and waking several times during the night to feed
  • On average, newborns sleep ~16 hours per day, but may range anywhere between 10 and 23 hours per day
  • After the initial period of long sleep after birth, sleeping for extended periods of time
  • Difficulty waking; non-responsiveness to parental waking
  • Irregularities in breathing during sleeping

line

thumb Stooling

WHAT IS NORMAL?
WHAT IS NOT NORMAL?
  • Days 1-2: Black, sticky poop
  • Days 3-4: Green poop
  • Days 4+ : Yellow poop
  • Other normal characteristics:
    • Small or large in size
    • Watery
    • Seedy
    • Lacking a foul odor
  • Blood in the poop
Note: This can be a sign of injury or illness and a doctor should be called immediately.

line

dad and baby Urination

WHAT IS NORMAL?
WHAT IS NOT NORMAL?
  • Pee that looks like clear water
  • 6+ wet diapers that weigh the equivalent of 3 tablespoons of water at one week after birth
  • Orange or red pee after the 1st or 2nd day

Note: Seeing your infant's urine in her diaper can be difficult because the pee is clear and the diapers are absorbent. Placing a napkin in your infant's diaper can help by making the wetness more visible.

Note: A little bit of color is okay at first, but if your see this later it is a sign of dehydration.

(Back to top)

Note: Some of the information on this page (e.g., the sleeping, stooling and urination information) was adapted from: Riordin, J., ed. Breastfeeding and human lactation. 3 ed. 2005, Jones and Bartlett Publishers: Sundbury, MA.

 

Breastfeeding Triad Home Page

This site is supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and The Penn State Center for Childhood Obesity Research.

For more information about this site, click here. Or, contact us at: info@breastfeedingtriad.com.

2006 © The Breastfeeding Triad Project
All images and photographs are property of The Breastfeeding Triad Project or used with permisson from copyright holders.