Q&A: Is Baby Getting Any Colostrum?

How can I tell if my baby is really getting any colostrum in the first few days? I can't see it.
profile picture of Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA
ByNancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA
Lactation Specialist
Updated
Mar 2017
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Some mothers will see a drop or two of colostrum on their nipples before or after baby sucks, and some will see a little dripping out of baby’s mouth. Still, some moms never catch a glimpse of colostrum. This doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Watch baby. Does he have most of your areola (the dark part around your nipple) in his mouth? Do you see his chin pause slightly between sucks? Can you hear swallowing sounds? These are signs that he’s getting the goods. Some experts also recommend monitoring baby’s intake by recording his dirty diapers. They should be black and sticky to start. (Colostrum helps flush his first poops — called meconium — out of his system.) If baby is getting enough milk, here’s how many bowel movements you’ll probably see:

DAY 1: One (black and gooey)

DAY 2: Two (black)

DAY 3: Three (black or greenish)

DAY 4: Three to four (greenish or yellowish)

While you’re in the hospital, ask for a lactation consultant or other skilled breastfeeding helper to observe you nursing and reassure you that baby is getting all he needs. These experts should be able to offer you pointers if anything looks amiss. And, even if baby isn’t nursing effectively at every feeding in the first day or two, it’s important to let him suck often (at least every two to three hours). This helps establish your milk supply and gives both of you lots of good practice for the days and weeks ahead.

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