A little knowledge can help breastfeeding go more smoothly for you and your baby. Here’s what you’ll want to know, by the numbers.
0 to 60 minutes after birth:
When most moms can first nurse their babies (this number may be different if you had a C-section, or if your baby has any health complications).
15 to 20 minutes:
How long it takes a newborn to empty one breast. (But there’s no set time.) The first milk, or foremilk, that you produce is lower in calories than the richer hindmilk that follows, which has brain-boosting fats.
Every 1 1/2 to 3 hours:
How often most newborns need to feed. This may vary, but every two hours is typical for most babies.
About 1 1/2 hours:
Length of time it takes for breast milk to work through a newborn’s digestive system. (Because the molecular structure of formula is different, a formula-fed baby can take up to four hours longer to dirty a diaper.)
Five or six:
Minimum number of diapers your baby should be wetting per day at 3 days old. Add to this three bowel movements, which are tarry and black for the first days. By day 4, your baby should wet at least six diapers and soil three diapers per day (the stool will now be soft and yellow).
At least 8 to 12 or more:
Number of feedings a newborn needs every 24 hours
Three or four days:
How long it takes for your whitish breast milk to come in. Before this, you’ll produce colostrum (a special yellowish, thick milk), which provides your newborn with protection against infection.
Two or three weeks after birth:
When to visit your baby’s doctor for a weight-gain check. From birth to age 3 months, babies typically gain two thirds of an ounce to one ounce per day.
Three or four weeks after birth:
How long you may want to wait before introducing a pacifier, to help your baby establish good nursing habits.
The ideal length of time the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies be breastfed before solid foods are introduced (your doctor can help you decide specifically when to start).