Australian Breastfeeding Association
Is breastfeeding best for my baby?
Breast milk is the best food for babies because:
Breastfeeding is good for mothers too...
Breastfeeding helps create a close and loving bond between you and your baby and can be a deeply satisfying experience for you both.
How soon after birth can I start to breastfeed?
Most babies have a strong need to suck when they are first born, so if you are both well you can start straight away. Many mothers offer the breast while they are still on the delivery table. The first milk in your breasts at this time is called colostrum.
How do I put my baby to the breast?
Find a comfortable position either seated or lying. Hold your baby close to you, chest to chest and chin to breast with your nipple opposite baby's mouth. Gently touch baby's lips with your nipple to encourage your baby's mouth to open wide. Make sure that your nipple and as much as possible of your areola (the darker area around your nipple) is in baby's mouth. When baby is positioned correctly for breastfeeding, it should not hurt you.
How often should I breastfeed at first?
Your breasts make milk in response to your baby's sucking - the more milk the baby takes, the more milk you make.
You will establish a good supply of milk if you:
How can I help my baby to get the milk?
Your milk will flow more easily if you are relaxed and comfortable at feed times. This is not always easy in those early days when everything is new and strange and you and your baby are still getting to know each other.
The following hints may help:
How do I know my baby is getting enough?
If your baby is feeding frequently, has plenty of pale, wet nappies (at least 6-8 in 24 hours), on breast milk alone, is gaining weight and seems reasonably alert, active and happy, then relax... Babies will enjoy being nursed and cuddled - lots of loving attention will not 'spoil' them.
How can I increase my milk supply?
If you feel your supply is low, feed your baby more often. Take things easy for a few days ... just relax and let your baby breastfeed often. The more milk your baby takes from your breasts, the more milk you will make.
Do I have to eat or drink particular food?
There are no magic foods that will increase the milk supply - a sensible balanced diet is the key. It is a good idea to avoid those foods which upset you or to which other family members are allergic.
What about night feeds?
New babies wake at night from hunger and need to be fed. This also helps your milk supply. Some babies sleep through the night quite early - others take much longer. Breastfeeding is the quickest and easiest way to soothe and settle your baby.
Reprinted with the permission of Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA).
The Australian Breastfeeding Association is a large community-based self-help group, recognised as a leading authority on breastfeeding management. The Association provides innovative counselling and support services to the community and health sector throughout Australia.
Further information on breastfeeding by the ABA includes: