In the first few days it is normal for a baby to lose up to 10% of their birth weight. If your baby’s weight loss is over 10% your midwife or Public Health Nurse will check their feeding pattern and nappies.
By day 5, when feeding is going well your baby will start to gain weight. It can take up to 2 weeks for a baby to get back to their birth weight. Some babies gain weight faster than this. Your Public Health Nurse will record and track your baby’s individual growth pattern.
You may notice that there are some days where your baby feeds more frequently than usual. This may last for 2 to 3 days and then your baby settles back into a similar pattern to before. This is called a ‘growth spurt’. It doesn’t mean you don’t have enough milk. By feeding your baby more often will help increase your milk supply to meet their growing appetite.
During a ‘growth spurt’ your baby may seem hungry all the time and your breasts can feel empty. This is because your baby is taking the milk as it is made and not allowing time for your breasts to feel full. Your milk supply will soon respond to the frequent feeds. Some mums find that their breasts feel too full after a ‘growth spurt’ but this settles down in a few days.
Growth spurts may happen when your baby reaches:
- 2 to 3 weeks
- 6 weeks
- 3 months
- 5 to 6 months
As these times approach, prepare to spend 2 to 3 days feeding more often than usual. Some mums find it a good time to rest, relax and enjoy spending extra time with their baby.
As your baby grow so does their tummy. Offer both breasts at each feed. Your baby will feed for longer from the first breast and for a shorter time from the second breast.
Your baby’s stomach is only the size of a cherry in the first few days. Small regular amounts of milk will be more than enough to fill their tiny tummy.
Keeping your baby close will help you to notice signs that they are ready for a feed. Bring your baby to your breast for a feed as soon as they are ready.