Like any relationship, the more time you and your baby spend together, the quicker you’ll get to know each other. This time with your baby will help to establish breastfeeding, as well as help you to learn how to care for, soothe and comfort them. Studies also suggest that rooming in for the first few days has been linked to an increase in breast milk production, higher rates of demand feeding and an increase in the length of exclusive breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding gives your baby the best start in life. Breastmilk provides your baby with all the nutrients they need in their first six months and it can also increase their resistance to infection and disease. In Australia it is recommended that babies are exclusively breastfed for six months and then continued breastfeeding combined with solid foods for two years, or as long as mother and baby prefer.
Most people think that breastfeeding comes naturally, but like any new skill, it needs to be learned. One of the most important skills to learn together is how to position and attach your baby to the breast. This requires time, patience and plenty of practice, as well as an understanding that it may not always go as planned.
You can encourage your milk supply by
- Keeping your baby skin-to-skin until after the first breastfeed
- Keeping your baby close in the early days, so you can recognise the early signs of hunger and feed early and often
- Avoiding artificial infant formula and bottles, unless there is a medical reason
- Limiting the use of a dummy until breastfeeding is going well – any time your baby seems hungry, offer the breast rather than a dummy
Signs your baby is getting enough breast milk
- Baby sucks strongly, slowly and steadily
- Baby swallows at the breast often
- Your breasts feel softer and less full after breastfeeding
- Baby has a strong cry, moves actively and wakes easily
- Baby has settled times after feeds
- Baby regains birth weight by 10-14 days
You may experience nipple tenderness, full breasts, and some discomfort in the early days after birth as your body adapts to producing milk and feeding. Rest assured, our midwives at Epworth are here to support you every step of the way. We also have highly skilled lactation specialists on site to help you with breastfeeding throughout your hospital stay and beyond.
Our lactation consultants can help with breastfeeding issues, such as: Understanding baby cues, positioning and attachment, over or under supply, mastitis, feeding twins, reassurance and reattaching.
Appointments are available face to face, and also virtually. If you would like to book a consultation, contact Epworth Freemasons Maternity Breastfeeding Clinic on 03 9418 8310.
If you choose to feed your baby with a breast milk substitute formula, you will be given encouragement, guidance and education to support your choice.
03 August 2023