A baby beluga whale that was born at the Vancouver Aquarium on Tuesday is nursing regularly and continuing to bond with its mother, the aquarium says. 

But officials say mom and her calf remain under careful observation by veterinary and animal care teams.

"During these critical first steps, we will be ensuring that distractions for Qila and her calf are kept to a minimum,'' said aquarium spokesman Kent Hurl, in a progress report released on Thursday. To help with this, we are offering controlled viewing access both above and below water.

As a result, Aquarium visitors are permitted to use cameras, but the use of flash is not permitted.

The newborn beluga whale is about 1.4 metres long and weighed more then 50 kilograms at birth. She is slate greay and will gradually lighten as she matures. Her fetal folds will remain evident for the first few weeks and she is swimming well, Hurl said.

The baby is Qila's first calf. It was sired by Imaq, the sole male beluga at the Aquarium. Qila's mother, Aurora is currently located in an adjacent habitat to Qila and her calf.

Hurl said aquarium staff are in no hurry to name the new calf, saying that health issues remain the priority.