Mom and BabyA baby’s first year of life is amazing in terms of growth—and a growing appetite!  Knowing what to expect helps mother relax more and enjoy breastfeeding.

Baby's Stomach Capacity in First 10 Days

When starting to breastfeed, mothers may be concerned with expressing enough milk for her baby. As the illustration below shows, a mother can feel comfortable that she is providing sufficient milk.  On Day 1, a baby’s stomach capacity is about the size of a shooter marble; by Day 3, the baby’s stomach capacity is about the size of a ping pong ball, and the size of a chicken egg by Day 10.

Baby's Stomach Capacity

Birth to Day 4

The Facts

  • A newborn’s stomach is as small as a shooter marble. At birth, you have just the right amount of milk to fill it.
  • Your breasts are never empty.
  • When breastfeeding well, newborns usually do better without water or formula.
  • Lots of breastfeeding brings in more milk faster.
  • Lots of breastfeeding helps prevent engorged breasts.
  • Most mothers can make enough milk for twins, triplets, and more.
  • Keep your baby on your body skin to skin for easier feedings and more milk.
Mom Breastfeeding Baby

What to Expect

  • Lots of breastfeeding.
  • Your nipple may feel tender for the first minute or two then feel better.
  • If your baby fusses, offer each breast more than once.
  • Expect 1-2 wet diapers each day and black stools.
  • Many newborns lose up to 10% of birth weight by Day 4.

Things to Learn

  • Practice laid-back breastfeeding with baby belly down on your body, so you can breastfeed and rest.
  • For greater comfort, help your baby latch deeply onto your breast. If it hurts, ask for help.
  • Make sure your baby feeds at least 8 times a day. Feedings may be bunched together. If needed, guide baby to breast while drowsy and in a light sleep.
  • Ask where you can get breastfeeding help if needed.

Day 4 to Week 6 - Establishing and Maintaining Your Milk Production

The Facts

  • A baby’s stomach stretches to the size of a chicken egg by Day 10.
  • Most babies feed 8-12 times a day but not at set times. They may bunch feedings close together for part of the day or night.
  • Babies may take one breast at a feeding, or they may need to feed from both breasts. Let your baby decide.
  • More breastfeeding makes more milk.
  • Most mothers start to make much more milk starting on Day 3 or 4
  • Drained breasts make milk faster. Full breasts make milk slower.
  • Breastfeed only. Avoid pacifiers until your baby is latching and breastfeeding well. If your baby is breastfeeding well, no additional liquids are needed unless recommended by your healthcare provider.
  • Your milk production grows from about 1 ounce (30 mL) to about 30 ounces (900 mL) between Days 1 and 40.
Mom Breastfeeding Baby

What to Expect

  • If your breasts feel very full, breastfeed more or express milk. This will make you feel better, not worse.
  • By Day 3-5, baby’s black stools turn first green then yellow. After that, expect 3-4 or more yellow stools the size of a U.S. quarter (2.5 cm) or larger every day.
  • Expect 5-6 or more wet diapers a day by Day 5.
  • Your baby should be back to birth weight by 2 weeks.
  • Your baby may want to feed again soon after breastfeeding. This is normal now.
  • Most babies sleep for one 4-5 hour stretch each day. It may not be at night.

Things to Learn

  • Breastfeed whenever your baby wants to. You’ll know it’s time when your baby turns her head from side to side with an open mouth or when she puts her hand to her mouth.
  • Don’t wait until your baby fusses or cries. When upset, it’s harder to feed well.
  • Use a position that feels good for you and your baby.
  • If breastfeeding hurts, get help. A small change in how your baby takes the breast may be all you need to feel better.
  • Find a mothers group near you. Spend time with other breastfeeding mothers.

6 Weeks to 6 Months - Breastfeeding Gets Faster

The Facts

  • Your baby’s stomach is larger and holds more milk. She may feed less often.
  • Most mothers no longer feel full, even with lots of milk.
  • Babies need about as much milk per day at 6 weeks as 6 months.
  • Now breastfeeding starts to take less time than bottle-feeding.
  • When breastfeeding well, a baby does best on mother’s milk alone until about 6 months.
Mom Breastfeeding Baby

What to Expect

  • Older babies are faster feeders. The baby who used to feed 40 minutes may now be done in 10-15 minutes.
  • Some babies this age have fewer stools but gain weight just fine.
  • Older babies may pull off the breast when they hear or see things around them.

Things to Learn

  • Trust your baby to know the right time to feed.
  • Practice breastfeeding when away from home until you feel at ease. Even when breastfeeding is going well, you may experience some of the following:
  • Your baby has fussy times. (Most babies do.) 
  • She wants to feed again soon after breastfeeding. (Most babies do.) 
  • She wants to feed more often. (This adjusts your milk production.) 
  • Your breasts no longer feel full. (Usually at around 3-4 weeks.)
  • She wants to feed less often or for a shorter time. (Babies get faster with practice.)
  • She wakes a lot at night. (Babies need to do this to get enough milk.)
  • You can’t hand express much milk. (This skill takes practice.)


Your Milk Is Abundant When Baby Gains Weight Well On Breastfeeding Alone

Baby’s Weight Gain with Breast Milk Feedings

Your milk is abundant when baby gains weight well on breastfeeding alone

Baby's Age

Average Weight
Gain Per Week

Average Weight
Gain Per Month

Birth to Day 4



Day 4 to 4 months

+ 7-8 oz. (200-222 g)

1.75-2.0 lbs. (0.79-.88 kg)

4-6 months

+ 4-5 oz. (100-122 g)

1-1.25 lb. (0.4-0.45 kg)

6-12 months

+ 2-3 oz. (58-85 g)

0.5-0.75 lb. (0.23-0.34 kg)

This is general information and does not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. If you have a problem you cannot solve quickly, seek help right away. Every baby is different. If in doubt, contact your physician or healthcare provider.

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