Breastfeeding A to Z

First Week of Life

After your delivery you will receive discharge instructions. It is difficult to remember everything you have been trying to learn over the past few days. It is helpful to have something written down to refer back to. Make sure wherever you deliver your baby that they give you information about where to go in your community for breastfeeding support. That might include:

  • IBCLC Lactation Consultants
  • WIC Program Staff
  • Health Department Staff
  • Breastfeeding Support Groups in your area. Examples: La Leche League, Newborn Parenting Group, or                hospital sponsored group
  • Breast pump rental and sales outlets.
  • Check Where to Find Breastfeeding Help

Make an appointment for your baby to have their weight checked during the first week after they are born, or according to your healthcare provider’s instructions.

Breastfeed your baby at least 8 times every 24 hours.

Every 24 hours, make sure your baby is having at least 3 dirty diapers and at least 6 wet diapers. If your baby has had NO stools or dirty diapers in a 24 hour period, it is very important to have the baby’s weight checked as soon as possible. Lack of dirty diapers most often is a sign that your baby is not getting enough calories.

If your baby is hard to wake-up to feed this can be a sign of jaundice or not eating enough. Contact your healthcare provider today.

Expected weight gain: A normal newborn will normally regain their birth weight by 2 weeks of age. Most babies gain ½ to 1 ounce/day (15-30 gms/day).  During rapid growth babies can gain 2 ounces/day (60 gms/day). Your baby may even be ½ pound to 1 pound (roughly 0.25-0.5 kg) above their birth weight by 2 weeks of age if nursing is going well.

Doula/Helper: It is very helpful if a new mother can have an individual that can help them when they return home. Essentially, the mother needs to be mothered, while the family is learning to incorporate this new little person into their lives no matter the number of children in the family.

Exclusive breastfeeding for your baby is encouraged for the first 6 months of life. Breastfeeding for a year and beyond as long as mother and baby desire is encouraged. (1)(2)

Babies get enough fluid in their milk; no additional water is needed. Studies show even babies living in hot humid or hot dry climates get enough fluid from breastfeeding. For example, in hot weather if your baby is thirsty, they will nurse more. As long as your baby’s urine is colorless to a pale yellow color, they are taking in enough fluid and only need breastmilk to meet their needs. (3)

Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends Vitamin D supplements be given to exclusively breastfed infants in the first few days of life and continuing until they begin to take in an adequate amount of Vitamin D from other sources. Breastmilk does contain small amounts of Vitamin D and the rest is usually converted in our skin from sunshine. But because we want to protect babies from too much sun exposure we keep them covered or use sunscreen when they’re outside, the AAP recommends Vitamin D be added to a breastfed baby’s diet. There has been some discussion about supplementing mother’s diet either prenatally and during breastfeeding so she has adequate Vitamin D levels. Discuss this with your healthcare provider. (1)(3)


  1. Lawrence, RA, Lawrence, RM, Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Professional, 7th edition, Maryland Heights, MO, Elsevier Mosby, 2011, pp 309, 322.
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk, Pediatrics, 129(3) Mar 2012.
  3. Mohrbacher, N, Stock, J, La Leche League International The Breastfeeding Answer Book, 3rd Revised Edition, Schaumburg, IL, La Leche League International, Jan 2003, p 38.