BREASTFEEDING
 

Babies need nutrition after birth and are fed their mother’s milk. This process of nursing the newborn after birth from mother's breast is known as breast-feeding.

  • Mother’s breast milk is very nutritious and contains a lot of antibodies which help in building the baby's immunity. This protects the baby from diseases

  • It is very gentle on the baby's developing stomach, intestines, and other body systems

  • The baby is fed only breast milk for the first 6 months

  • The baby can be fed a combination of breast milk and formula after 6 months, up to 2 years of age

  • Learning the effects and the process of breastfeeding can make the mother aware of it’s benefits and ease the process

Breastfeeding

Lactation

Lactation is the process of production of milk in the glands present in mother's breast. The breast start to lactate even before the birth of child. These changes occur in the mother’s body during pregnancy due to lactogenic hormones.

The four major hormones that help with lactation and breastfeeding are:

  • Estrogen

  • Progesterone

  • Prolactin

  • Oxytocin

These lactogenic hormones stimulate the growth of the glands which produce milk in the breast of the mother. 

Role of Estrogen and Progesterone

  • During pregnancy, the amount of estrogen in the mother’s body increases. This leads to the development of the milk duct system in the mother’s breasts

  • Progesterone causes the growth of alveoli and lobes in the breast which help in the process of lactation

  • High level of both estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy inhibits the milk secretion

  • During the process of childbirth, the placenta is separated and removed from the mother’s body. This causes a sudden fall in the level of estrogen and progesterone in the mother’s body.  This triggers the mother’s body to start lactating and produce milk to feed the baby

  • The estrogen and progesterone levels continue to remain low in the mother’s body for several months after pregnancy. If the hormone levels rise during those months, it can reduce the amount of breast milk produced by the mother

The structure of breast - nipple, areola, milk duct, etc

Prolactin | The breast-feeding hormone

  • Prolactin is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland, which is a structure located in the brain

  • Prolactin increases the growth of the breast alveoli and readies the ducts of the breasts which carry the milk from the glands to the nipples

  • High levels of estrogen and progesterone prevents prolactin from making breast milk

  • However, the levels of estrogen and progesterone are low for several months after childbirth. So, the level of prolactin rises and remains high for the first few months after childbirth

  • When the child sucks at mother’s breast, the nerves in the breast are triggered. This signals the brain to release prolactin which increases the milk secretion for the baby  

Oxytocin | The Love Hormone

  • Oxytocin is also secreted by the pituitary gland, a pea-sized structure located in the brain

  • Oxytocin contracts the muscles in the breasts which squeezes the milk out of the mother’s breasts through her nipples

  • It also helps in the contraction of uterine muscles during childbirth

  • Sensory instincts are triggered after the child sucks on the mother’s breasts. This increases the production of oxytocin in the brain. It is then transmitted to the breast through the blood, where it triggers muscle cells to contract, causing the milk to be released through the nipples.
     

3 MAIN STAGES OF LACTATION AND BREASTFEEDING 

 

Stage 1

This stage is witnessed during the 1st trimester of pregnancy

  • Due to the influence of estrogen and progesterone, the breasts begin to prepare for lactation

  • The blood flow to the breasts increases and the breast size increases

  • The nipples and areola of the breasts become darker in appearance

  • The veins become more visible in the breast and the breast begins to feel tender

 

Stage 2

This stage is noticed during the 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy 

  • Breast tenderness normally reduces by this stage

  • The breasts gain the capacity to produce milk and they start secreting a fluid called colostrum

  • Colostrum is a thick ,clear or yellowish fluid, which is secreted in the initial days of breastfeeding. However, this yellow colour may vary from red to pink, or even brown

  • The colostrum is important for the baby because it mainly provides immunity to the baby

  • Stretch marks start to appear on the breasts, along with itching

Stage 3 

This stage is observed after child-birth. 

The mother’s body begins to release the hormone prolactin to signal her breasts to produce milk for the baby. The breasts are also stimulated with the help of oxytocin.

However, It takes a couple of days for the mother’s breasts to produce milk. Meanwhile, the baby feeds on the yellowish fluid known as colostrum. Colostrum provides the baby with nutrition and antibodies which makes the baby immune against certain diseases. 

Types of Breast Milk 

Types of breast milk and it's transition over the days - like colostrum, transitional milk and mature milk
  • Colostrum is a thick, clear or yellowish fluid which is secreted during pregnancy. Colostrum is breast fed to the baby from the very first feed for up to 2 days of child-birth. It is produced in small quantities, but can help babies in:

    • Building their immune system

    • Getting their digestive system up and running

    • Starting their first bowel movement due to its laxative properties

  • Transitional Milk is a combination of colostrum and mature milk. It is breast fed to the baby from the 3rd day till about the 14th day after childbirth. It is white or yellow in color. The amount of proteins and antibodies in transition milk are lesser than colostrum, but the fat, sugar and calories increase in milk. This help babies in gaining weight

  • Mature Milk is initially thin and white (sometimes blueish). It is lower in fat as well. This is called foremilk. After a few days, the fat increases and the milk becomes thicker. This is now called hindmilk. The hindmilk production continues till the time mother breastfeeds the baby. The consistency and color of milk changes as per the food and nutrition intake of mother and the bodily requirements of the baby


MILESTONES OF BREASTFEEDING

  • The initial days of breastfeeding can be both physically and mentally stressful for the mother

  • However, breastfeeding is easier for mothers who have had previous experiences

  • It also takes a while for the mother and the baby to get comfortable with the process of breastfeeding

  • The quality (nutrients or anti-infective properties) and the quantity of milk produced by the mother changes with baby’s age and needs 

  • This also means that the feeding routine for a new-born is different as compared to that of an older baby

  • Breastfeeding patterns are also different for different babies, according to the baby’s requirements
     

The early stage | Day 1

  • The breast produce colostrum

  • Breastfeeding should be initiated within an hour or two after childbirth

  • It is important for the mother and the child to be together for the first few hours after childbirth to build a stronger bond

  • The baby should be placed in direct skin contact with mother right after birth. For example: the baby’s naked stomach could touch  mother’s bare chest. This position is also generally opted for the first breast feed, making it comfortable for both the baby and the mother. This also helps in keeping the baby warm

  • At this stage, the baby should be fed at an interval of 2-3 hours

  • Each feed session lasts for about 20-45 minutes. Therefore, around 8-12 feed sessions are required within 24 hours

  • This is the right time to start tracking the routines of the baby. For example the feeding ,urination and excretion routine of the baby. This helps the doctors to keep a track of the health of the mother and the child 

  • During the first few feeds, the mother is usually assisted by the nurse or the doctor in order to understand breast feeding patterns and to help feed in the right way

 The next stage | Day 2

  • On day 2, the babies are more awake than day 1

  • The baby also shows interest in getting fed at more frequent intervals of 2-3 hours

  • Each feed session lasts a little longer than the first day. But 8-12 sessions are still needed within 24 hours

  • The baby still lacks the practice of latching and sucking on day 2

  • These frequent feeds provide the baby with colostrum 

  • The baby should be allowed to finish nursing from each breast. This helps to signal the need to make more milk, to each breast

  • The baby is then made to burp before feeding on the other breast. If the baby feels full, it might not feed from the other breast of the mother

  • In such a case, the next feed session should be started with the other breast, which already has stored the produced milk 

  • Initially, the baby excretes meconium which is a sticky and dark semi-solid

 

The later stage | Day 3 onwards

  • The mother will begin to produce a lot more milk after the 3rd day

  • The breasts will feel fuller, heavier and warmer when the milk comes in

  • The mother needs to feed her baby frequently because that will empty her breasts. This makes the breasts feel lighter and create room for more milk to be produced

  • The baby is fed transitional milk from the 3rd day onwards until around the 14th day after childbirth

  • The baby continues to be fed mature milk from 15th day onwards

  • Duration for each feed increases as the baby grows bigger. This leaves the baby more content, full and sleepy

  • This also means that the frequency of diaper changing needs to be increased

  • The stool of the baby will start to change. It's color becomes mustard yellow and it is loose and seedy in consistency

  • The baby starts to gradually gain weight once the production and consumption of milk increases to an average of 1-1.5 Litres per day

CUE-BASED FEEDING | UNDERSTANDING BABY'S HUNGER
 

The method of feeding the infant according to its hunger and readiness to be breast fed is termed as cue-based feeding. 

  • Learning the new-born’s hunger signals are very important for cue-based breastfeeding

  • Cue-based breastfeeding is the most effective way to ensure that the baby is getting enough milk whenever the baby is hungry. This also helps the mother’s body to produce sufficient milk for the baby

  • It is also believed that setting the baby on a strict feeding schedule could lead to a poorly nourished baby and engorgement in the breasts of mother. This could cause a less enjoyable breastfeeding experience for the mother and the baby

Signals of baby’s hunger

  • The new-born baby will be awake and looking around. In most cases, if the new-born is awake, it is most likely ready for a feed 

  • The baby will be licking or sucking its lips

  • The baby will be putting its tiny hands in its mouth

  • The baby will be constantly opening and closing its mouth

  • The baby will be turning its head and this is called rooting

  • The baby will make tight fist with its fingers

  • The baby will start cooing, i.e, it will start to make a soft

    murmuring sound

  • The baby will be crying or whining persistently. This is

    generally the last sign

Baby crying because of hunger

The more one pays attention to the baby’s body language, the more they will understand the baby’s needs. The mother will eventually be able to distinguish between hunger cry, a dirty diaper cry or a cry for any other fuss or needs. 
 

 

GUIDE FOR BREASTFEEDING


Proper breastfeeding is really critical for both the mother and the baby. It helps the baby get a proper latch on the breast and be fed completely. Simultaneously, it helps the mother get into a comfortable position while feeding and also avoid any kind of pain and soreness in the breast. It also releases oxytocin, which helps in creating a stronger bond of love between the mother and the baby.

 

A common mistake made by mothers while breastfeeding is that they try to push the nipple of their breasts into the baby’s mouth. This causes the nipple to touch the roof of the baby’s mouth. This leaves the infant hungry as when the baby sucks, the milk secretory glands are not completely compressed and hence the milk doesn't come out properly. The baby starts to suck even harder for the milk then.. This leaves the mother with sore and cracked nipples. The baby's mouth must cover both the nipple and the areola of the breast so that the baby’s mouth, tongue and lips can massage the milk out of the milk glands of the mother. This action is termed as good latching in breastfeeding.

Tips for Good Latching

  • Hold the baby facing the mother’s breasts, with the front of baby's tummy below the area beneath the mother’s breasts. The baby’s head should be in line with the rest of its body and it should not be not turned. This makes swallowing easier for the baby 

  • Touch the baby's lip with your nipple to encourage the baby to open his/her mouth wide, like a yawn

  • If the baby is still not opening his/her mouth, try to squeeze out some colostrum, followed by milk into the baby's slightly opened mouth. The taste will prompt the baby to open his/her mouth for a feed 

  • If the baby turns away, the mother should stroke the baby's cheek on the side nearest to her breast. This rooting reflex will make the baby turn its head towards the mother’s breast

  • Bring the baby forward toward the mother’s breast once its mouth is wide open. The mother should not lean over to push breast into the baby’s mouth. Wait until the baby initiates action. Hold the breast until the baby has a firm grasp and is suckling well

  • In case the baby holds the breast for support, make sure that the mother’s fingers are away from the nipple to ensure room for the baby to attach deeply

  • A good latch is noticed when the baby's chin and the tip of its nose are both touching the mother’s breast. The baby’s lips will be seen outward, appearing like fish lips.  In case the baby’s lips are not flared out, try getting his/her lips outward so that the baby

    does not start sucking on his/her own lips instead of the nipples

Correct latch-on position during breastfeeding

How to tell if it is a good Latch

  • The baby’s mouth should be wide open, instead of nearly close

  • The baby’s chin should be pressed to the breast and not away from the breast

  • The baby’s nose should also be touching the breast

  • The lower lip of the baby should be protruding out like a fish, instead of an inward tuck. However in many well-attached babies, the lower lip is often hidden in the breast and it might not be tucked in 

  • The baby should show a strong, steady suck-swallow-breath pattern while suckling. There will also be a rhythmic motion in the baby's cheek, jaw and ear. Once the milk comes in, the sound of swallowing or gulping should be heard

  • If the baby is not getting enough milk, he/she will show a continuous fast sucking pattern without pauses. The latching should be made proper if this happens
     

COMMON POSITIONS FOR BREASTFEEDING
 

Each mother and child will have different needs and preferences for breastfeeding positions. Experimenting is the key to finding the one which is best suited, while ensuring a good latch. There should be enough space to keep the baby’s nostrils free so that the baby can breathe properly. Using pillows can help in the long run if the mother understands that she needs to bring her baby closer to her and not bend down to her baby. However, the mother should always ensure that the baby’s ear, shoulder and hip are all in one straight line. Let's understand these positions in details:

  • Cross Cradle

The cross-cradle hold works best for small babies or those who are unable toIt can be started by placing a pillow on the mother’s lap to support the baby in a semi-reclined position. The mother should choose the side which she is going to start on and she should aim her baby’s head in that direction. The mother should bring the baby closer from its stomach, rather than the head. Otherwise, swallowing becomes difficult for the child as its neck becomes tilted. 

  • Football 

The football hold is a favourite of many mothers because babies seem to latch well in this position. It is also preferred for a woman who has had a C- section delivery because it does not add pressure on the incision; or for mothers who have had twins because they can latch two breasts at once. The position is started by placing pillows at the mother’s side, behind her back and perpendicular to her body. The mother should support the baby’s body in her forearm and the baby’s head in her hand. The baby’s legs should be tucked under the mother's arm. 

  • Side-Lying

The side-lying position is another good option for mothers who have had a C-section delivery, as it keeps the baby off the incision. The mother should lay down on her side and set the baby next to her tummy. She can use pillows to support her back, if desired. The mother should support her baby’s head using her hand. When it is time to switch sides, the mother should  hold her baby close to her chest and roll onto the other side. 

  • Cradle Hold

The cradle hold works well for mothers and babies once breastfeeding is well established. The mother should have good back support and should use pillows or an armrest to raise her baby to the level of her breast. The baby should be laid across her lap: tummy to tummy and the baby should be supported in the arm, on the same side of the breast that the baby is nursing from. 

Cross cradle position for breastfeeding
Football hold position for breastfeeding
Side lying position for breastfeeding
Cradle hold position for breastfeeding

BURPING THE BABY

  • Babies need to burp more often as compared to older kids and adults. This is because they gulp a lot of air while feeding and their digestive system is still developing

  • Breastfed babies may not belch (spill out milk) as much as the bottle-fed babies

  • Most first-time mothers are too gentle with their babies. This can lead to ineffective burping. Releasing the air trapped in the baby’s stomach will make them more comfortable and will create more room for future feedings

  • Burping usually only takes a minute or two. Sometimes a burp will come up as soon as the baby is upright, and sometimes, it happens after a little while

  • No two babies will have the same behaviour pattern

  • It may take several minutes for the burp to happen and the mother should always make sure to support the head of the baby while she is trying to burp her baby 

Symptoms of a gassy baby

  • Cries a lot

  • Has a hard and bloated tummy

  • Farts a lot

  • Gets extremely irate

How to comfort a gassy baby

  • Burp the baby

  • Check the mother's food intake, avoid too spicy food or food that gives gas to mother

  • Exercise the baby's legs and arms in cycling motions and lie the baby on it's stomach

  • Ask doctor for some medication

 

It's normal for a baby to pass gas 12-15 times in a day.

Common positions for burping the baby

  • Baby on Chest

Place the baby’s head comfortably on your chest. While bracing your baby with one hand, use the other to firmly pat or rub the back from tailbone to shoulder. 

Baby on chest burping position
  • Baby on Lap

Put the baby in a seated position on your lap by holding under the baby’s armpits and use your fingers to support the baby’s head. Move its torso in a circular up and down motion. This allows the baby’s ribs to massage the digestive organs.

Baby on lap - burping position
  • Bicycle with Baby

Place the baby lying face-up on your legs with his/her head  securely on your knees. Pull each leg with a hand and make a bicycle motion, which allows the baby’s thighs to massage his/her digestive organs. 

Bicycle with baby to release gas
  • Baby on Tummy

Make your baby rest on his/her tummy with your thigh supporting the baby’s face with one hand. Make sure the baby’s head is slightly above his/her body. Now use your other hand to gently rub the baby’s back from tailbone to shoulder slowly. 

baby on tummy for burping

BREASTFEEDING BENEFITS

 

Breastfeeding is a better way to feed the baby right after childbirth, because of the following reasons:

  • Breast milk has the perfect blend of proteins, fats, vitamins, and carbohydrates

  • The presence of antibodies, living cells, enzymes, and hormones make breast milk ideal for the protection of the baby against diseases

  • The bond between the mother and her baby becomes stronger over time during the phase of breastfeeding

  • Breastfeeding has no negative economical effects on the mother and her family

Common benefits of breastfeeding for the baby

  • The most important benefit is the lowered risk of SIDS (the sudden infant death syndrome) 

  • Breast milk acts as the very first dose of immunisation for the baby

  • Decreased risk of allergies and asthma

  • Reduced risk of having infections or diarrhoea

  • Tendency to have higher IQ

  • The baby is happier, fuller and contended after a feeding session and has deeper and longer sleep

  • Breast milk protects the baby from respiratory and urinary tract infections, type1 and 2 diabetes, lymphoma and leukaemia

 

Common benefits of breastfeeding for the mother

  • The process of breastfeeding relaxes the mother due to the release of the love hormone, oxytocin

  • The mother gets to observe and understand the behaviour of her baby

  • Supports physiological recovery from pregnancy as it helps the new mothers to forget the agony they went through during labour

  • Promotes faster recovery of the uterus after childbirth

  • There is a delay in the onset of the menstrual cycle after childbirth. The women can have few painless months for recovery, without menstruation after childbirth, although, light bleeding and spotting may be observed

  •  Promotes psychological attachment with the baby. The skin to skin contact encourages a better bonding between the mother and her baby

  • Promotes the mother’s self-esteem

  • There is a reduced risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer in mothers who breastfeed their children

  • Women who breastfeed are less likely to have diabetes and it also decreases the risk of developing heart diseases and other bone-related issues like osteoporosis

  • Breastfeeding helps decrease the bleeding right after the birth of the baby

  

Changes in the mother’s body during breastfeeding

  • Initial swelling of the breasts

  • Change in the shape of the breasts

  • Change in size of either both the breasts or any one of them, due to preference of breast by the baby

  • Sagging of the breasts, which can be more in some cases and less in some

  • In some cases, the veins of the breasts appear to be prominent, bluish-green in colour and a little bulged

  • Severe mood swings, from feeling excited and joyous to nervous and anxious

  • Some mothers go through depression, which is usually temporary. This is called postpartum depression

  • During the lactation period, mood swings can occur as the dopamine level in the body drops for the prolactin to be increased

  • Increased stress is also a common change in the mother’s body during this phase

     

     

    PROBLEMS FACED DURING BREASTFEEDING
     

While there are numerous benefits of breastfeeding, the mother may face certain issues in the process that could be a concern. These issues are usually resolved by following certain precautions and including minor changes in position during the feed sessions. 
In some severe cases, the paediatrician may need to be consulted.

 

The issues faced during breastfeeding

  • Breast engorgement

  • Sore, cracked or burning nipples 

  • Poor breastfeeding latch

  • Inadequate milk supply

  • Flat or inverted nipples

  • Clogged milk ducts

  • Breast inflammation and redness 

  • Backache

  • Stress

  • Depression 

  • Mood swings
     

ENGORGEMENT OF BREASTS

 

Engorgement of breasts occurs when the breast tissues overfill with milk, causing swelling and pain in breast. 

After the baby is born, the mother already has milk in her breasts. This pregnancy milk is called colostrum. It is produced in a very small quantity but is vital for building the baby’s immune system. After a few days of frequent feeding, the breast milk changes from colostrum to transitional milk, and finally, to mature milk. The production of mature milk is larger in quantity as compared to colostrum. At this stage of breast feeding, the breasts tend to feel full even after breastfeeding. This is because the breast produces more milk than the baby manages to consume. With time, the mother's body understands the requirements of the baby and produces milk accordingly. The engorgement of breasts is a common phase of breastfeeding. However, it can be severe at times. Not all mothers face the problem of breast engorgement.
 

Reasons behind the Engorgement of Breasts

  • Increased production of milk

  • Inadequate feeds or improper feeds

  • Missing feeds

  • Missing breast pump sessions
     

Consequences of the Engorgement of Breasts

  • The breasts feel very full and swollen

  • The breasts become hard and painful

  • The nipples appear to be flattened and tight

  • Sometimes, the pain and the feeling of fullness extends to the armpits

  • The breasts feel warmer and lumpier

  • The skin of the breasts look shiny and stretched

  • Mother's body temperature rises to 99-101 °F

  • Breastfeeding becomes uncomfortable

  • Latching the baby correctly becomes difficult due to flat nipples

  • If left unattended or untreated, it can become severe leading to blocked milk ducts, infections and reduced milk production. This condition is called Mastitis

Prevention of the Engorgement of breasts

The simplest way to avoid engorgement of breast is to breastfeed the baby as frequently as possible and ensure that the latch is good.

Cure for the Engorgement of breasts

  • Using a warm compress before the feeding session can help soften the breast. The warm compress can be prepared by dipping a towel in warm water and by squeezing the excess water. Doing this for more than a couple of times is not recommended as it can affect the process of milk production negatively

  • If the mother feels uncomfortable, a gravity breast bath can be tried before breastfeeding. In order to do this, the mother needs to lean over into a basin filled with warm water and lightly submerge her breasts. The warmth of the water, along with the gravity helps to soften the breasts before breastfeeding

  • Letting out a little milk by hand before breastfeeding will help the baby to latch to the nipples better. To perform this, the mother needs to place her hand on the areola and gently push it back into her body and then bring her fingers together. She can continue doing so until the areola feels softer

massaging to reduce engorgement of breast
  • In case, the breasts continue to feel hard and full post a breastfeeding session, the mother should try venting out some milk by hand

  • When the baby is nursing, the mother can continue to massage her breast. When she massages the breast during feedings, she might hear the baby swallow more often. Massages can help relieve fullness. When the baby is done nursing, the breasts should feel softer, but they may not feel completely empty. This is normal during the engorgement phase

Massaging the breast before breast feeding
  • After a feeding session, the mother can put ice packs to soothe her breasts

  • The mother should ensure that she is breastfeeding for a minimum of eight times every 24 hours

  • The mother can try breastfeeding in different positions to ensure good latching

  • The mother can try ‘reverse pressure softening’, a technique that can move excess fluid from the breast

  • The mother should wear nursing bras of the proper size and should avoid wearing underwired bras

  • The mother can try pumping out the milk through a sterilised breast pump. This milk can be stored for a while and is fed to the baby through feeding bottles

Use breast pump for removing extra breast milk, to reduce fullness in breast

WHEN SHOULD A MOTHER NOT BREASTFEED?

Breastfeeding is beneficial for both the baby and the mother for numerous reasons.  But there are a few circumstances when the mother should avoid breastfeeding her child. This is when breastfeeding can potentially harm her baby. 

Some situations when the mother should not be breast feeding

  • If the mother is HIV positive or infected with AIDS, there are very high chances that the mother might transfer the virus to the baby through breast milk

  • Most of the prescribed medications taken by the breastfeeding mother are safe to use. But in some circumstances, a mother might be consuming some medication which is not suitable for a breastfeeding mother. The doctor needs to be consulted before the mother consumes any additional medications during her breastfeeding period

  • Mothers with cancer or mothers under cancer treatment should not breastfeed their babies. The drugs used in chemotherapy are extremely harmful for the baby. It may stop the growth of the baby or damage the growth of the baby if the drugs are passed on through the breast milk

  • Mothers with tuberculosis should not breastfeed their baby unless they are completely treated, or else, there are high risks of passing on the infection to their baby

  • The mothers who used to consume illegal drugs like marijuana, heroin, cocaine, etc should consult a doctor before they breastfeed the baby. These agents are likely to be passed on through the breast milk and they can cause some serious side effects in the baby

  • Drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes should be avoided by the mother. If the mother consumes alcohol, she should wait for several hours before she breastfeeds her baby

  • If the baby suffers from a rare condition called galactosemia and is intolerant to any kind of a natural sugar, he/she should not be breastfed. The breast milk contains galactose, which is natural sugar that may harm the baby with this disorder

TRACKING BABY'S EXCRETA

Let us see what is normal and what to expect with a baby's stool and urine while breastfeeding. It is also important to understand how often babies should pass their stool or urinate.

The Stool of the baby 

  • The new-born babies have a very tiny stomach. So, in the first few days/weeks, every time they are breastfed, their digestive system is engaged and the consumed food is pushed out to make room for the new food 

  • The apt time to start tracking and noting their poop pattern is from the fifth week of birth. This is what helps to determine the healthy bowel movement and, if the bowel movement is not healthy, this helps the doctor to diagnose and treat the condition the baby might be suffering from

  • The babies will have one to two stools on the first two days of life

  • The new-born babies pass a unique first stool called meconium. It is a thick, sticky and greenish-black in colour

  • Around the third day, the baby passes out on a transitional stool, which is a greenish-brown stool. The transitional stool is much softer than meconium

  • The colour or the baby's stool will gradually change from dark green to yellow

  • Fourth day onwards, the stool appears seedy and mustard yellow in colour. This type of stool continues mostly for the next 4-6 weeks

  • The baby will most certainly have three stools on day four and day five

  • Many breastfed babies have odourless stools after each feeding

  • The consistency might be a little loose but if the consistency gets watery, it may be diarrhoea and the paediatrician should be consulted as soon as possible

The Urine of the baby 

  • Healthy urine is transparent or pale yellow in colour and is usually odourless 

  • Concentrated urine with a strong smell or a bright colour could be a sign of some disorder

  • If the baby has about 8-10 wet diapers a day, that is a great sign of hydration and that the baby is getting enough milk

  • If the baby is passing urine up to 20 times a day, it is normal as long as it occurs without any other alarming signs 

  • It is considered to be alarming if the baby has not passed any urine for a stretch of 6-8 hours straight

  • Once the baby starts to be fed solid food and breast milk is reduced, the frequency of urination reduces to 3-4 times a day

  • In case of even a slight content of blood in the urine, the paediatrician should be consulted as it may indicate that the baby has some internal infection

  • The baby crying severely while passing urine may mean discomfort to the baby, and should be brought to the attention of a doctor immediately

In any case of abnormalities or if any alarming signs are observed in the bowel movement or in the urination pattern, make sure to visit the paediatrician as soon as possible.