What to expect the first week of Breastfeeding Your Newborn

As a new or expecting mom, you may have a few questions about what to expect during your first week of motherhood. Each and every child is unique, but if you are planning on breastfeeding, we hope these tips and list of expectations will help you have even more confidence early on. Untitled design 2


It’s impossible to nurse too often, you can only nurse too little. Frequent nursing helps to encourage a good milk supply and also alleviates engorgement.

You should be nursing at the first signs of hunger. If you use signs such as stirring, rooting, or hands in mouth as signals to initiate nursing, you can reduce crying. If your baby is excessively sleepy, it is best to wake them for nursing after 2 hours of daytime napping or 4 hours of nighttime sleep.

Dirty & Wet Diapers

An easy way to track diapers in the early days is to relate it to their days of life. Babies should typically have one dirty diaper and wet diaper for each day of their life. For example, 1 dirty & 1 wet diaper on day 1, 2 dirty & 2 wet diapers on day two, etc. It’s also normal for babies to stool each time they nurse, or sometimes even more. You can expect 5-6+wet diapers within 24 hours once your milk has come in. Between weight checks, you can use these goals to identify if your baby is getting enough milk.


Please review any medications for you or your child with your doctor, midwife, and/or your lactation consultant prior to use.

Signs to Watch for

If you’re not sure what it means for your milk to “come in”, read on. Between days 2 and 5, you can expect the quantity and consistency of your milk to change from colostrum to mature milk. Engorgement may become uncomfortable. So, if you need to alleviate discomfort, simply use cold compresses in between feedings. Before resorting to the use of cabbage leaf compresses, we recommend you consult with your provider.

If you are experiencing sore breast(s) with a fever, chills, or flu-like aching or if your baby is experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should immediately contact your doctor, midwife, and/or your lactation consultant.

Symptoms include:

  • Complete lack of wet or dirty diapers

  • Dark colored urine after day 3

  • Dark colored stools after day 4

  • Variance from the goals listed above

Remember, if you have any questions or concerns before or during your first week, please give us a call to set up a consultation with one of our lactation consultants, Harriett Wellborn, RN IBCLC or Marcia McBrayer. With a passion for promoting health and wellness in both mother and child, Harriett has been counseling nursing mothers for over 30 years.


Popular Articles

Latest Articles

pal logo bottom