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Getting On a Breastfeeding Schedule

When to breastfeed your baby, how long, what to do about nighttime feedings, and more.
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Is Breastfeeding Enough?

Among the greatest worries new breastfeeding moms have is whether their baby is getting enough to eat. In most cases, experts say you have nothing to fear because it's likely your breasts are producing enough milk. And if your baby is nursing at least eight times a day, chances are your baby is happily fed. One way to know for sure, however, is to use your baby's dirty diapers as a guide.

During the first seven days of life, Hanna says the number of dirty diapers should match the number of days since birth. So, when your baby is three days old, he or she should be dirtying three diapers. After seven days, however, your baby should require far more changes in a 24-hour period. "After the first week, four to 10 wet diapers daily is a good sign," Hanna tells WebMD.

Also note: If you are using disposable diapers that pull wetness deep inside the lining, it may be hard to tell if your baby is wetting the correct amount. When this is the case, use the weight of the diaper as a guide. If it "feels" heavier than a clean, unused diaper, then chances are your baby is wetting the correct amount, says Huotari.

In addition to wetting, your baby should also be having frequent mustard-color stools -- or dry dark stools that gradually lighten in color by the fifth day. What's normal to expect here?

"Anywhere from one to as many as five poop diapers a day is normal and essential," says Hanna.

Although dehydration is rare in babies, she cautions that overly dry, dark, or hard stools after the fifth day -- or a lack of any stool -- can be a sign of trouble. Mention these problems to your pediatrician as soon as possible.

"The one thing you don't want to do is give your baby water, even if you think they may be dehydrated," warns Huotari. Instead, she says, treat your baby to more frequent or longer breastfeeding sessions. The American Academy of Pediatrics adds that all breastfed infants need vitamin D drops daily to supplement the small amount in mother's milk. Ask your pediatrician about the drops, and how much to give your baby.

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