Once you have baby on the breast you’ll have questions like ‘How often?’, ‘How much?’ and ‘How do I know if I’m getting it right?’
It’s important that your baby feeds actively so you make enough milk to meet their needs. Once full milk comes in, babies will usually have eight feeds in a 24 hour period. Feeds may not be evenly spaced out during this time and babies will often cluster feed in the evening.
Try to respond to your baby’s feeding cues rather than feed by the clock. Your baby may be hungry again sooner than you would like!
Signs your baby is hungry include: nuzzling, sucking on their hands or clothing, putting their hands or fist in or near their mouth, turning their head from side to side and crying. Crying will be the last cue, and probably means your baby is getting distressed.
You know your baby is getting enough milk if they have 6-8 really wet cloth nappies or 5-6 disposables in a 24 hour period. Breastfed babies will usually have a poo once a day until 4 weeks; after which some will poo every feed; others every 7-10 days.
Around 2, 4, 6 and 12 weeks babies typically have a growth spurt and will feed more frequently. This will last for 2-3 days and is baby’s way of increasing your milk supply to meet their growing needs.
Breastfeeding mothers need three iron-rich meals a day along with healthy snacks and plenty of fluids. There is no need to change your diet while you’re breastfeeding – baby got used to the food you eat when they were in utero. But it’s definitely best not to smoke.
The Ministry of Health and Plunket have more information on breastfeeding or visit the La Leche League website To find a lactation consultant near you, contact the NZ Lactation Consultants Association. The Women’s Health Action Trust also has resources on breastfeeding