Tips for breastfeeding success

From the moment your baby is born, there are a number of things you can do to improve your chances for breastfeeding success.  

Stay together after the birth

Keeping your baby with you after the birth will promote a feeling of closeness and a strong hormonal response that is linked with breastfeeding success.  In many cases it is even possible to have your baby with you immediately after a caesarean birth.

Get your position and attachment right

The first few days after the birth offer the best opportunity for you and your baby to learn to breastfeed. Your breasts are still soft for a few days after the birth, then as breast milk changes from highly nutritious colostrum to mature milk, your breasts can become quite full and firm. Try and use the first few days to get your position and attachment right, this may help to avoid potential problems down the track.

Be patient

Breastfeeding is a skill that both you and your baby are learning and for some mothers and babies it is harder than it is for others. Like anything new, it takes time and patience. Relaxation is important for both you and your baby. If you find you are getting frustrated or angry at yourself while you're trying to breastfeed, stop and try again in a little while. If your baby is distressed, and if it is possible, ask someone to keep them distracted until you are ready to try again. You could also express for this feed and try feeding from the breast for the next feed. 

Feed on demand or according to need

While you are establishing your breastfeeding your baby will feed between seven and twelve times in 24 hours. This will settle over time. Frequent and effective feeding will help you to make enough milk for your baby.

Keep baby in the room with you

There are many benefits to having your baby in the room with you in the hospital and at home; including that it reduces the risk of sudden infant death.

It also promotes breastfeeding. Having your baby in the same room as you will help you to recognise when your baby is hungry, tired or in need of a cuddle; it will make it easier for you to know when your baby is ready to feed.

It is important to provide a safe sleep environment for your baby night and day.

Avoid teats, dummies, and complementary feeds

Because your new baby is still learning to breastfeed, they can become confused if they are offered a teat or dummy. If your baby has fluids other than breast milk they will breastfeed less, and your breast milk supply will decrease. Frequent, unrestricted suckling at the breast will satisfy your baby and ensure that your milk supply continues to meet your baby’s needs.

Breast milk only for the first six months

When babies are exclusively breastfed, they need no other food or drink until at least six months of age. You can be confident that your baby is receiving enough breast milk in the early weeks if they have six or more heavy, wet nappies and at least one bowel motion a day. It’s also a good sign if your baby settles after most feeds.


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