The early days after birth
Breastfeeding is a learned skill. You may find it takes time, practise and patience to get the hang of it, feel comfortable and get into a routine.
In the early days, try to allow time for yourself to rest and recover after the birth.
- Knowing what to expect from your baby can be useful information as you adjust to your new role.
- Let your baby take the lead. Babies need to feed frequently – this could be every 2 hours. This is natural in the beginning because babies have tiny tummies and it encourages your milk production.
- There is no set number of times your baby should breastfeed in a day, or how long a breastfeed should take.
- Breastfeeding – What should I expect? – Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA)
- What’s normal? Breastfeeding, Babies and Breasts – ABA
Breast milk – at the beginning
After the birth, your body will produce a type of breast milk, called colostrum (the first milk). Colostrum:
- Is a highly nutritious concentrated form of breast milk.
- Contains antibodies to protect your baby against disease.
- Is yellowish in colour and the consistency of liquid honey.
It is normal to produce only a few mls (millilitres) of colostrum.
A teaspoon is around 5mls.
Colostrum provides all the nutrition your baby needs for the first few days until your milk ‘comes in’. This usually occurs around 3 to 4 days after birth. When this happens, your breasts may feel fuller, firmer and heavier.