Find antenatal classes near you. Building up your milk supply Around 2 to 4 days after birth you may notice that your breasts become fuller.
If you need any help, your midwife will support you with positioning and attachment. Your baby's sucking causes muscles in your breasts to squeeze milk towards your nipples. Some women get a tingling feeling, which can be quite strong. Only express enough to feel comfortable as you do not want to overstimulate your supply. The fluid your breasts produce in the first few days after birth is called colostrum. Your baby may want to feed quite often, perhaps every hour to begin with.
It could be every hour in the first few days. This is called the let-down reflex. You can find out about breastfeeding from your midwife, family and friends, and useful helplines and websites. It will help to comfort you and your baby over the first few days and weeks as you get to know each other. You'll see your baby respond when your milk lets down.
What else should i know?
last reviewed: 4 November Next review due: 4 November Breastfeeding: the first few days. It's also a great time to have your first breastfeed. This is normal. As a very rough guide, your baby should feed at least 8 to 12 times, or more, every 24 hours during the first few weeks.
Colostrum: your first milk The fluid your breasts produce in the first few days after birth is called colostrum. It may help you feel more confident when you start breastfeeding your baby. The amount of milk you make will increase or decrease depending on how often your baby feeds. Wearing breast p will stop your clothes becoming wet with breast milk. Your let-down reflex Your baby's sucking causes muscles in your breasts to squeeze milk towards your nipples. They'll begin to have fewer, but longer feeds once your breasts start to produce more "mature" milk after a few days.
It's important to breastfeed at night because this is when you produce more hormones prolactin to build up your milk supply. Sometimes you'll notice your milk letting down in response to your baby crying or when you have a warm bath or shower.
If your baby has not fed recently, you could offer them a feed as breastfeeding is also about you being comfortable. But nearly all women produce enough milk for their baby. They can also help you have skin-to-skin contact with your baby as soon as it's possible.
The more you breastfeed, the more your baby's sucking will stimulate your supply and the more milk you'll make. Skin-to-skin time can be a bonding experience for you and your baby. There are lots of groups and drop-ins, some specially deed for pregnant women who want to know more about breastfeeding. Remember to change them frequently to prevent an infection. How often should I feed my baby?
Skin-to-skin after a caesarean If your baby is delivered by caesarean, you should still be able to have skin-to-skin contact with your baby straight after delivery. It's thick and usually a golden yellow colour. In the beginning, it can feel like you're doing nothing but feeding.
Occasionally this let-down reflex can be so strong that your baby coughs and splutters. Expressing some milk may also help. It also helps your baby attach to your breast using their natural crawling and latching-on reflexes. But gradually you and your baby will get into a pattern and the amount of milk you produce will settle down.
Skin-to-skin contact is good at any time. It's best to try and feed your baby during these early feeding cues as a crying baby is difficult to feed. Having skin-to-skin contact with your baby straight after giving birth will help to keep them warm and calm and steady their breathing. They'll begin to have fewer, but longer feeds after a few days. Speak to a midwife or health visitor if you are worried about breastfeeding or you think your baby is not getting enough milk.
Find out more about how to tell if your baby is getting enough milk and tips for building up your milk supply. Each time your baby feeds, your body knows to make more milk for the next feed.
You can find out more by asking your midwife, health visitor, local peer supporter or GP. Or visit your local Children's Centre. It's a very concentrated food, so your baby will only need a small amount, about a teaspoonful, at each feed. Ask your midwife, health visitor or breastfeeding supporter to check your baby's positioning and attachment.
Breastfeeding faqs: getting started
Your midwife, health visitor or breastfeeding supporter can help with this, or see some tips for when you have too much breast milk. It's good to find out as much as you can about breastfeeding before you have your baby. Babies often pause after the initial quick sucks while they wait for more milk to be delivered. Back to How to breastfeed. It's also known as on-demand or baby-led feeding.
Others feel nothing at all.
Their quick sucks will change to deep rhythmic swallows as the milk begins to flow. When your baby is hungry they may: get restless suck their fist or fingers make murmuring sounds turn their head and open their mouth rooting It's best to try and feed your baby during these early feeding cues as a crying baby is difficult to feed.
It may take time for both of you to get the hang of breastfeeding. Your milk will vary according to your baby's needs. In the early weeks, before you and your baby have become comfortable with breastfeeding, "topping up" with formula milk or giving your baby a dummy can lower your milk supply. Skin-to-skin contact Having skin-to-skin contact with your baby straight after giving birth will help to keep them warm and calm and steady their breathing. It's fine to feed your baby whenever they are hungry, when your breasts feel full or if you just want to have a cuddle.
Skin-to-skin means holding your baby naked or dressed only in a nappy against your skin, usually under your top or under a blanket.
You'll still be able to bond with and breastfeed your baby if skin-to-skin contact is delayed for some reason, for example if your baby needs to spend some time in special care. This is often referred to as your milk "coming in". It's not possible to overfeed a breastfed baby. Around 2 to 4 days after birth you may notice that your breasts become fuller. In the first week, your baby may want to feed very often. This is called responsive feeding. This happens faster for some women than others.
Preparing to breastfeed before the birth
In other words, responding to your baby's needs. If your baby is delivered by caesarean, you should still be able to have skin-to-skin contact with your baby straight after delivery. In the first few days, you and your baby will be getting to know each other. Feed your baby as often as they want and for as long as they want.
Antenatal classes usually cover the most important aspects of breastfeeding, such as positioning and attachmentexpressingand how to tackle common breastfeeding problems. Preparing to breastfeed before the birth It's good to find out as much as you can about breastfeeding before you have your baby. If necessary, your midwife will show you how to express your breast milk until your baby is ready to breastfeed. If your baby seems to be falling asleep before the deep swallowing stage of feeds, they may not be properly attached to the breast.