Five breastfeeding questions answered!

Will I be able to start breast feeding straight away? How long does it take for my milk to come in? How do I know my baby is getting enough milk? 5 frequent questions about breastfeeding will find a clear answer here.
Mum and baby

Will I be able to start breast feeding straight away?

  • An uncomplicated labour and delivery….

Yes! Every newborn when placed on the mothers abdomen has the ability to find his mother’s breast and decide when to have his first breastfeed.

  • C -section

If you have a planned caesarean you can also have skin to skin, following an emergency C/s you can have skin to skin as soon as you are in the recovery room and feel well enough to hold your baby.

  • Premature baby

When your baby is born early or needs to go to special care your midwife will help you get breastfeeding started with hand expressing if your baby cannot go to breast and with expressing by double electric breastpump.

How long does it take for my milk to come in?

  • For the first few days you will produce colostrum; it hardly seems possible that the small amounts you produce will sustain your baby, and you may worry that your baby is not getting enough.
  • It usually takes on average between 3-5 days for your milk to come in.
  • If this is your first child and you had a full-term vaginal delivery, you can expect that your milk will come in within 72 hours.
  • If you have other children, your milk may come in sooner.
  • If you had a caesarean section, or your baby is premature, it may take a little longer for your milk to come in.

Is there anything I need to do before introducing my newborn to the breast?

  • Before you put your baby to breast get yourself ready, find a chair that supports you so that you are sitting in a comfortable position that is fairly upright.  If you are a bit tender take your pain management medication as instructed by your health professional
  • Get yourself a drink of water one with a top on is ideal as it can be placed next to you without spilling.
  • Have a pillow or nursing support to hand to support your arms to keep your baby in a good position whilst he is feeding. Remember to practice without these too as when you are out and about you won’t be taking these with you.
  • Wear a top that helps you to see what is going on until you feel that you and baby have got it right. When you are out and about you could wear a vest top under your top garment as this will give you a bit more coverage and can be slipped under your breast whilst you lift your tshirt etc.

How often should a newborn feed? 

  • A newborn baby has a unique feeding pattern post birth, during the first week your baby is learning to breastfeed with lots of sucking, pausing and stimulation.
  • Your baby’s feeding pattern may be short and often sometimes hourly this is normal and will settle.
  • Generally speaking you will be advised to feed your baby when he is hungry, on average a new-born baby will feed between 8-12 times a day sometimes more. This is called feeding on demand and it is very important for growing your milk supply at the same pace as your baby’s needs increase. Your breastmilk supply will adjust to your baby’s appetite and growth rate.
  • Your newborn should wake and feed at least twice between 12-6am don’t let your baby go more than 5 hours at this stage.
  • Look at your baby’s nappies lots of wee and poo by day 5 your baby’s poo should soft paste brown and heavy with wee. Lots of poo means lots of milk.

How do I know my baby is getting enough milk?

  • Number of wet/dirty nappies: The best way to tell whether your baby is getting enough to eat is by the number of wet and dirty diapers your baby has. After the first 4 or 5 days after birth, your baby should be having about 6 very wet nappies and several dirty nappies in 24 hours.
  • Good skin colour and muscle tone.
  • Your baby is alert and reasonably content.
  • Appropriate weight gain, growth in length and head circumference: On average, breastfed babies will lose from 6.6 % to 12.8 % of their body weight in the first 3 days and will recover their original weight in about 8 to 21 days.
  • If you still have concerns about how much breastmilk your baby is getting, speak with your midwife, health visitor or breastfeeding support group.