Pregnancy and Baby Care

Diary of a New Parent: Is My Baby Getting Enough to Eat?

By Carla Murphy, FCO Library Coordinator

I remember looking at all of my skinny baby boys and wondering if I was feeding them enough, especially compared to the delightfully chubby “Gerber” babies of friends and family. Few things worry new parents more than how much baby is – or isn’t – getting to eat.

Baby Eating Cereal By BobbyBokeh

Patient explanations from midwives, lactation consultants, and an amazing paediatrician helped calm my fears. The most important thing I learned can be summed up as:

What goes in must come out.

Therefore, if it – by which I mean pee and poop – is coming out in sufficient quantities, then your baby is getting enough to eat.

Best Start, Ontario’s maternal, newborn, and early child development resource centre, offers these simple guidelines:

  • For the first week, your baby should have 1 wet/poopy diaper for every day of life. So, a three day old baby should have three wet/poopy diapers.
  • Once a baby is 6 days old, you should expect to see at least 6 wet diapers a day. Some babies will poop many times each day; others will poop less than that.

If you’re like me, and have tiny babies (my oldest was 6 pounds at birth), they may never weigh as much at the same age as the baby who was born at 8 or 9 pounds. This brings me to the second point to take into account when worrying about how much your baby is eating:

Every baby gains weight differently.

The important thing, my paediatrician assured me, was that the baby doesn’t drop below their original place on the chart:

  • A baby who starts out in the 5th percentile and stays there as they get older is doing just fine – that’s just who they are.
  • A baby who starts out in the 75th percentile and drops down to the 40th percentile is cause for worry.

Make sure the doctor or midwife weighs your baby on the same scale every time.

When you are talking about ounces or grams, every little bit counts.

Other things you can look for:

  • Is your baby coming off the breast or bottle on her own? This likely means she’s full.
  • Can you hear the soft “cah” sound of swallowing when your baby is feeding?

Helpful resources if you’re worried about your baby’s weight gain:

Above all, trust your instincts as a parent. You know your baby best and if you really feel there’s something wrong, be sure to check it out with your health care provider.


Carla Murphy is enrolled in the Master of Information, Library and Information Science at U of T. She is a parent and a certified birth and postpartum doula with over five years of experience helping families as they adjust to life with a new baby.

Photo Credit Baby Eating Cereal By BobbyBokeh