Did you know your body needs a ‘trigger’ to start producing breast milk? It's provided by your baby when it suckles, so put your newborn to the breast as soon as possible after delivery. Your midwife can help get you and your baby into the best, most comfortable position for this.
At first, your breasts will just produce a small amount of a thick, yellowish liquid called colostrum. Extremely rich in nutrients and antibodies, colostrum is very good for your baby. The more frequently you put the infant to the breast, the faster you will start producing breast milk - generally in about 3 days.
Once your milk 'comes in', you’ll probably feel a tingling in your breasts when you're ready to feed. They can also leak a bit - this is known as the 'let down' reflex. You may feel mild tummy pain, which is your womb contracting as you nurse.
The more you breastfeed, the more milk you will produce. If you feed 'on demand', you should produce all the milk the baby needs. Breastfed babies generally cry when they are hungry, which is every 2-3 hours in the first weeks. Each feed can take up to half an hour.
Some babies suffer from wind or colic. If yours does, burp the baby against your shoulder after feeding. If the baby feeds from both breasts, you may also want to burp in between.
If your baby's birth weight was low (under 2.5kg/5lb 9oz), or if you had a difficult delivery, it's especially important to establish a good breastfeeding routine and to keep track of your baby's weight in the early weeks. Don't hesitate to ask your midwife or health visitor for help.