It is important to remember that every baby is a different and these first few weeks are about learning about each other and what works for you and your baby. You will be inundated with advice from well-meaning family members, different techniques from health professionals, your friends and new mums. This can seem overwhelming at times and the advice will be conflicting! If you are struggling with any aspect of breastfeeding I would always advise visiting a breastfeeding support group to get that one-on-one technical support, it can help build your confidence as well.
- As a very rough guide your baby will probably feed between 8 -15 times in 24hrs. A feeding routine will develop over time led by you and your baby’s needs, but the initial weeks will be a little hap-hazard. Have realistic expectations for you and your baby in this time to give the best chance for breastfeeding to establish.
- It is important to know that a newborn baby's stomach is only the size of cherry when born, so they need to feed little and often. Your baby can have a good feed and be hungry again quite quickly. This is why "responsive feeding" – also called "baby-led" or "on-demand" feeding – is so important in the initial weeks after birth.
- Another key factor in establishing successful, stress free breastfeeding is learning your baby’s cue when they become hungry and feeding early, before they begin to cry and become frustrated. This way you can learn what position works best for your baby and you, take time to get the positioning right (reducing risk of damaging your nipples) and remove the stress of trying to latch an agitated baby to your breast
Babies go through different patterns of feeding as they grow and by learning their cues and letting them feed when they need to you are making sure your baby gets the milk they need and helps them to stay content, allowing you to grab some much needed ‘me’ time. I find the chart really useful in showing mums the early feeding cues of babies.