Roz Webb offers guidelines on what baby health indicators you should, and should not, worry about

GREEN These are normal, but always get support if you want it
My baby’s poo changes 3 times in the first week Day 1 black and sticky, day 2 brownish green, day 3 -4 soft yellow is normal
My baby’s weight falls in first few days Weight usually falls up to 10% and babiesgenerally regain birthweight at days 10-14
My baby wants to feed 8 times or more in 24 hours, day and night Babies like to feed frequently, sometimes up to 16 times in 24 hours (they have teeny, tiny tummies!)
My baby’s weight has gone up or down 1 or 2 percentile spaces on the chart The chart is a rough guide and weight is not the only indicator of your baby’s health – you know your baby best so try to trust yourself
My baby is suddenly very fussy, hungry and wakeful and wants more attention This may be a ‘growth spurt’ but is most likely just a phase – roll with it!
I think I haven’t got any milk  This is very rare – very few physical conditions make it hard to build a good supply – get support if you are worried.  The more you feed your baby, the more milk you will produce
My breasts leak Some women leak a lot, some not at all.  It will probably settle down in time, and in the meantime you can get breastpads to catch the leaks
My baby was given formula in the hospital If you want to you can easily return to full breastfeeding
It is day 3 and my milk is coming in – my breasts are swollen and sensitive Breasts often become sore (engorged) – this tends to resolve as ‘supply and demand’ is established
I’m worried about my milk supply Try offering both breasts at every feed, squeeze a little more out with your hand when your baby seems to have finished, keep your baby close and feed frequently, express between feeds for a couple of days
I don’t want to breastfeed any more You can bottlefeed in a way that responds to your baby’s needs and use it as a way of nurturing, just like breastfeeding
My baby brings up some milk after every feed If it does not seem to bother your baby, don’t worry – it is called posseting and is very common
My baby sometimes takes 45 minutes for a feed Just like some adults, babies might feed for 5 minutes or45 – this is normal
I think my baby is having too much breastmilk Babies have the ability to regulate their appetites, and will stop feeding when they’ve had enough.  Sometimes babies ‘cluster feed’ and a few will go for 4 hours without a feed
Sometimes my baby just wants to feed for comfort This is normal, but how much you feed for comfort will depend on your parenting style
I want to start expressing (week 2) This is fine, but you might find it easier to wait, as expressing is easier once breastfeeding is established
My baby arches his/ her back, cries and turns his/her head away when I try to feed This can happen if your baby has had a difficult birth or a bit of rough handling by helpers ‘pushing’ your baby on the breast – try patience and gentleness, biological nurturing positions, a warm bath together, responding to early feeding cues – try to get in before your baby starts to cry
Sometimes my baby falls asleep at the breast Breastmilk is a sedative. If you think your baby could do with a bit more milk, wake them up a little by tickling ears or feet.
I don’t want to breastfeed This is your decision to make and nobody should force you to change your mind
AMBER Not an ideal situation – it will get better with time but if you want to, get some breastfeeding support or go to your GP
My baby is not regaining birthweight and is not keen to feed Find support or go to your GP
My baby sleeps a lot Sleeping 3 or more hours at a time more than occasionally might mean your baby is not feeling well – see your GP
I’d like to give my baby a dummy There is evidence to suggest that you should wait until breastfeeding is well established
It is day 7 and feeding really hurts Breastfeeding should not hurt – find some support with position and latch and take some time out to relax with your baby  – deep shooting pain can be thrush but can also just be the formation of new milk ducts
I have a red patch or lump on my breast and it hurts This may be a blocked duct – feed a lot from this breast, massage gently – see your GP if this does not help within a couple of days
I would like to have a drink of wine Breastfeeding mothers can have occasional, small amounts of alcohol but should not drink regularly or heavily without considering how to limit the baby’s exposure – remember also that if you’ve had a lot to drink you won’t be able to care for your baby in other ways either
My nipples are cracked and bleeding This could be a sign of tongue tie (get this checked out) or thrush (see your GP for medication).  You can get nipple cream from your pharmacist in the meantime.  It will get better and will not affect your baby’s ability to feed
I think my baby prefers formula as when I give a bottle he/ she glugs down the lot This is probably more a case of your baby not being able to take the bottle out, so having to drink it all – it does not mean they prefer formula.  You could try expressing and feeding from a bottle
It was not a straightforward birth and we had several interventions; now breastfeeding is not going well Sometimes babies who have not had a straightforward birth also have some difficulties breastfeeding as well.  Often if you just give yourselves time, and maybe have a ‘babymoon’ these issues will iron themselves out
I have been told my baby has reflux The vast majority of babies ‘spit up’ sometimes.  Most babies grow out of it as their digestive systems mature.  Baby massage can often help.  If you are concerned, see your GP, or find breastfeeding support, but medication is rarely necessary.
RED See your GP
I have a sore breast and feel like I have flu See your GP as this may be mastitis – keep feeding from that breast and get support if this recurs
I want to start smoking again (mother or partner) Get help for stopping instead.  Breastfeeding might help counteract the negative effects of smoking on the baby, but it is better for all your family if you can stop for good.  The risks of e-cigarettes aren’t yet fully understood.