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What breastfeeding looks like

Mum feeds her baby for first nine months in the womb – baby is absolutely fine on mum’s milk for the first 6 months outside of the womb too! 

How to breastfeed - positioning and attachment 

Mums’ learn to breastfeed but babies are born knowing what to do. How mum holds her baby is called positioning. How baby goes onto the breast is called attachment.  Positioning your baby and attachment is important for effective and comfortable breastfeeding, this helps to ensure:

  • baby gets enough milk  
  • good stimulation to mum’s milk supply, and  
  • prevents mum developing sore nipples 

The ABC of breastfeeding 

A - Mum gets herself comfy  

B - Mum holds her baby in position  

C - Baby attaches with a bit of help from mum 

There are lots of different ways to hold your baby when breastfeeding. Read our top tips for early breastfeeding for more advice on positioning, keeping your breasts comfortable, night-time feeding and more. 

Understanding your newborn baby’s behaviour  

Many of us believe that a baby lets us know they are hungry by crying. They actually let us know long before crying in many other subtle ways. These are called early feeding cues. Find out more information about feeding cues to help you to recognise when your baby needs feeding. 

How often to feed your baby?  

You don’t need to wait for baby to cry as this is a late sign of hunger. Newborn babies usually feed around 8 to12 times in 24 hours.

It is best to watch your baby and not the clock. “Baby Led Feeding” can help by:

  • Encouraging baby to be settled and content  
  • Ensures mum has a great milk supply  
  • Prevents complications such as blocked ducts 

A newborn baby’s feeds will vary in length. Some snacks, some light lunches and sometimes a full banquet. The average time for baby feeding is between 5-40 minutes. Do you get the munchies in the evening? So do babies! This is called cluster feeding and it is completely normal. 

Feeding is far more than just the transfer of calories /milk for baby – it’s love, comfort and security. Babies breastfeed for all sorts of reasons including:  

  • Hunger  
  • Warmth  
  • Thirst  
  • Immunity  
  • Cuddles  
  • Growth  
  • Tired  
  • Fear  
  • Loneliness  
  • Pain  

What to expect in the early weeks 

The first few weeks with a new baby are an intense experience and a steep learning curve for all new parents. Breastfeeding can feel overwhelming, and a new mum may doubt her ability to feed her baby. Preparing for your exciting new life can make a lot of difference. 

Potentially challenging times include: 

  • 3rd day  
  • 3rd week  
  • 3rd month  

Once this first intense six weeks period is over breastfeeding is less “work” than bottle feeding. Read our breastfeeding stories from mums across North Wales for useful tips and information.