The Size of a Newborn’s Stomach

This is an interesting article one of my facebook friends posted. It includes a little chart that shows the size of a newborn’s stomach, from day one through ten. On the first day, the baby’s stomach is only about the size of a shooter marble, and by day ten, it’s about the size of an extra-large chicken egg. So, the moral of the story is — don’t worry that you’re not producing very much milk those first few days, because the baby couldn’t tolerate it anyway! Funny how that works, huh? — the mom produces a tiny amount of milk but very highly concentrated (colostrum) in those first few days when the baby’s stomach can’t hold much, and then as the baby’s stomach grows, the mom’s milk “comes in,” and she produces enough to feed him. I wonder how many mothers have been discouraged in the hospital and perhaps even put off from breastfeeding altogether due to not producing “enough” milk right at the first. And even worse if this is at all reinforced by doctors or nurses, and she becomes one of those women who thinks she “just can’t make enough milk.” Sure, there are some who for reasons of hormones or surgery or something actually and truly cannot make enough milk; but these are a distinct minority. Most others just need encouragement, rest, and time with their baby to produce all the milk the baby needs.

5 Responses

  1. I’m a childbirth and breastfeeding educator in Seattle and I actually use those props in class.

  2. They have a chart with the pictures of these different sizes at the nursing mom’s group I go to! Amazing how perfectly God designed our bodies, isn’t it?

  3. Honestly, I could care less how much a newborn eats in the first 24 hours of life! If they are vigorous and healthy, who cares? Parents are always shocked when I tell them a newborns stomach only holds a few teaspoons of volume. Bottle feeding moms want the baby to take the whole 30cc of formula on the first feeds. So they force feed, which leads to vomiting, which leads to a workup. RELAX! Look at the baby, not the measurement.

  4. That info was eye-opening for me when I was pregnant. It is such an important thing to know, too. My milk came in on day 5, and lately I’ve been hearing so many mothers say, “OMG, I had to formula feed. My milk didn’t come in for 5 days and my baby was starving!”

    I’ve been keeping my mouth shut, because I don’t want to upset anyone, especially for something that has already passed. But, I really feel like telling every woman 5 days of colostrum is NORMAL, and baby will not starve!

  5. Kathy,

    How are you? Good to touch base after a long time. Many things happened since I last corresponded… Our Natural Birthing Center is fully operational.

    Yes – your post is right on the money. I am constantly having to remind mothers, and more importantly, their immediate relatives that it is a fallacy to think that mothers do not produce milk after they give birth. Most often, it requires patience, and creativity in trying different positions to hold the baby so that the baby is comfortable and does not associate the mother’s breast with an unpleasant experience. We have achieved 99 percent success rate at the first instance, and 100 percent by the second trial.

    In India, where there is a strong family influence in almost everything, hospital staff do not take the time to help mothers with breastfeeding, leading to a stressful situation for the new mother. As if dealing with postpartum is not enough, she has to contend with ignorant relatives who, because she is not able to breastfeed, force her to bottle feed her baby, depriving him of valuable colostrum.

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