Good feeding practices
Tips for starting and establishing your breastfeeding.
When your baby is a newborn
- Feed your baby soon after birth, preferably within the first hour.
- Place undressed baby directly onto your chest (skin-to-skin).
- Make sure your baby is well attached to the breast (see Breastfeeding your baby).
- Before the milk 'comes in' many babies may feed up to 12 times in 24 hours.
- Ideally, you and your baby should remain together after the birth so baby can breastfeed according to need throughout the day and night.
- If your baby is having difficulty attaching to the breast, hand express and give colostrum to them.
- Breastfeeding is a learned skill, and you may need help. Don't be afraid to ask.
- Avoid the use of dummies, teats, and infant formula unless a medical professional has advised you to use them.
Establishing your breastfeeding
- When you are getting ready to feed, find the most comfortable position, either sitting or lying.
- Make sure your baby is well attached to the breast.
- Babies need to breastfeed more than six times in 24 hours.
- When feeding at the breast, make sure your baby is both sucking and swallowing.
- Encourage your baby to stay awake during the feed, and is actively sucking while feeding at the breast. Feeding skin-to-skin and gently stroking your baby will help.
- With each feed, allow your baby to finish feeding from the first breast before offering the second. Try gently massaging your breast to make sure it is well drained.
- If your baby is having difficulty attaching or feeding effectively at the breast it is important to express the breast milk and give it to your baby at every feed.
- Try to eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids (up to eight glasses of water per day).
- Rest often.
- Unless a medical professional has advised you to, there is no need to give infant formula or any other fluids to your baby.
Signs your baby is getting enough milk
- They are settling between feeds.
- Wet nappies increase in number after your milk 'comes in' (after that expect at least six to eight soaked cloth nappies or four to five heavy disposable nappies in 24 hours).
- During the first few days your baby's stools (poo) change from a black meconium to a soft mustard yellow appearance. Most babies will poo at least once per day in the first three months of life.
- Your baby starts to gain weight after an initial weight loss and regains birth weight by around two weeks of age. In the first three months of your baby's life there is an average weight gain of 150 grams or more per week.
Related Health Topics
Breastfeeding your baby
This 16 page booklet is for mothers who are starting to breastfeed. In it you will find information on how to get started and how to avoid common problems when breastfeeding your baby.
- Breastfeeding your baby
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