Newborn babies have tiny tummies, and breastmilk is easily digested, which is why they need to feed frequently – usually 8 or more times in 24 hours, around the clock, day and night. You’ll learn to pick up the cues from your little one when the time is right for each feed – to begin with your baby may stir, turn their head or open their mouth. Other cues include stretching or putting a hand to their mouth. To help you spot these little signals from your baby, take a look at our page on Learning your baby's cues.
A newborn’s routine can be very tiring for sleepy mums, but frequent feeds in the early weeks help make sure you have a good milk supply. And don’t worry if you find it a bit stressful and uncomfortable to start with – just like any other new experience, it gets easier. You’ll find lots of information and support here including ‘how to’ guides to help you at each stage of feeding your baby - from those first few days right through to 6 months and beyond.
Here are some other helpful tips to help you get off to a flying start.
What the parents say:
“I used to put a muslin cloth over my shoulder to cover my breast - just to give me - and also my baby - a little bit of privacy.”
Nikki, Mum of 1
What the professionals say:
"We need to look at what comes out in the nappy - as a baby’s pee and poo are often good indicators that they’re getting enough milk. Be led by your baby - and if you're worried about how much milk they're taking, always check what's coming out. If you have any questions or need help with your baby’s feeding, advice and support is always there so don’t be afraid to ask."
Lesley Weir, Family Nurse
If you’re worried about feeding your baby, get help immediately from your midwife, health visitor or GP.