The Size of Your Baby’s Stomach: Breastfeeding in the Early Days

April 7, 2015

It’s totally common for a new mom to doubt her breast milk supply and question whether she’s making enough milk to satisfy her little one. But, even though your breasts might only produce a few drops of colostrum (“first milk”) in the days after you give birth, that breast milk is the perfect nutrition for your baby. Colostrum is nutrient-rich and contains a high concentration of antibodies while helping to gently clear baby’s intestine. Understanding how milk production works – and what your baby really needs – can help give peace of mind in the early days. If you’re not sure that baby is getting enough, you can ask yourself these questions:

Is your baby breastfeeding frequently?

In general, a baby should nurse 8 to 12 times in a 24-hour period for the first few days to weeks. Breastfeeding frequently will also help you establish and maintain your supply because your breasts produce milk on a supply-and-demand basis.

Does your baby determine the length of feedings?

It’s best to let your baby determine when a feeding is over and avoid ending a feeding before they are finished. Your baby will either come off the breast or fall asleep when they’re done eating. Also, pay attention to your baby’s hunger cues.

How much weight is your baby gaining?

By 10-14 days after birth, your baby should recover any lost birth weight. Then, for the first 4 months of a baby’s life, average weight gain is about 5-7 ounces per week. If baby is growing normally, you can be confident that your supply is providing your baby with the nutrition they need.

How does your baby look and act? 

In general, if your baby is receiving enough breast milk they should look outwardly healthy and be active, alert and content.

 How many wet and dirty diapers is your little one having each day?

Look for your little one to have at least 6 wet diapers and 3 yellow stools per day by about day five after birth. This pattern generally continues for the first 6 months.

Are you hearing swallows during feedings?

While feeding, you should be able to hear your little one swallowing as your milk flows.

You might question whether baby is removing enough milk from your breasts – but your milk supply changes to meet your baby’s needs and their tiny stomach can’t hold large amounts of breast milk yet.

In fact, here are some general ranges for full-term infant stomach size from birth to two weeks:

size of baby's stomach in first weeks

 

[Image updated: 12/21/15]

Did you doubt your supply when you first started breastfeeding? When did you start to feel more confident about your milk production?

92 thoughts on “The Size of Your Baby’s Stomach: Breastfeeding in the Early Days

    • If I don’t pump in the middle of the night and then feed my daughter in the morning, she tends to overeat and will spit up a bunch. So I try to pump before I feed her so that doesn’t happen. She is just about 3 months old.

    • I was wondering the same thing. My 2.5 wk old has spit up 3 times today after feedings. I know I have an abundant milk supply, and she hasn’t been a spitter until today (with the exception of an occasional small spit up after a long feeding).

  1. Hi there, I’ve bf my 1st son who is now 9 yrs old for two yrs and he ate all day maybe 20 times a day for the first 4 mo I didn’t have any problems with him. He fed off the bottles with no problem in day care for 10 hrs. Now I have a 5 week old who rather uses my nipple as a pacifier then to feed. It was confusing at first but he has his cranky days where he just uses the hungry cues just to fall asleep. After all it kinda feels new to me with my Son and new born being so far apart lol. I’m hanging in there . he takes the bottle as well I’m just worried once I return to work how he’ll act with bottles for 6 hrs straight. Any suggestions mommies?

    • Your newborn should adjust well. I’ve been back to work since my son was two weeks old and he’s exclusively breastfed but while I’m at work he gets the bottle.

  2. I just want to ask if my 4 days old baby is doing well in breastfeeding. I thought about this because she just made my two nipples sore. I can feel that she did strong sucks, and was satisfied with my milk. I don’t know if my nipples are too big for her, or was it the bad attachment that’s causing the sore. Any help to avoid this. 🙁

    • Hi Angel,

      I was the same way. My nipples were raw and I cried everyday. It does get better as baby learn to properly latch. My daughter is 3 weeks to date. Hang in there!

  3. Exclusively breast feeding my 6wk old o demand but she seems to be spitting up a whole lot in the past few days not sure what is happening could she be overfeeding?

    • Hi Elsman – We recommend reaching out to your baby’s healthcare provider for more information about why she might be spitting up. Hope you’re having a great day!

  4. My baby is 3 months old and recently started bitting my nipples. I know he doesn’t have teeth but it still hurts. Any suggestions?

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