Here is a handy little chart for what to expect in the first few weeks. It’s good to be prepared and will help you know what you are doing the right thing.
It is really important to remember that babies are not born with a schedule. They won’t feed every two/three hours on the nail which is the reason that we ask for an average number of feeds over a 24 hour period.
You also need to note that in the first few days or weeks the baby will be on you a lot. This is their way of stimulating your milk supply so it is perfectly fine for this to happen. They may well cluster feed which when they seem to be eating a lot, this often happens in early evening. If you have any concerns over this then the first thing to do is look at the output – baby won’t poo or wee enough unless they are getting milk in. We also look at the color of the poo (check out the poo wheel on another drop down!) this tells us if there are issues with milk transfer or an imbalance in your supply (both fixable by the way!)
So how long should your baby feed for? Well some feed for 5-10 minutes and they are done. Others take 45 minutes regularly for a feed. The thing to do is not to time the feed length, just let them have milk for as long as they want. As babies grow they become better at feeding and things may change – in those first few weeks we expect feeds to take a bit of time.
What will it feel like for you? Well you may get a fullness in the breast and a feeling of letting down. In the first few days you may get period pain as the oxytocin produced by feeding also stimulates your uterus to contract. You may leak from the other breast (Important note – if you don’t leak it doesn’t mean you have low supply. It just means that you don’t leak!) It shouldn’t hurt – there may be a little discomfort in those first few days as your body adjust but pain is a no. Pain means that you need to call me or someone to come and see what’s going on (and do that the moment you get pain or soreness – don’t wait.)
How will you know that they are full? Baby may go to sleep with the rhythm of their sucking changing from a suck-suck-swallow to more of a quick fluttering motion. Look at their hands – they will be open and soft as they are full and satisfied. If they’re eating enough then as I’ve said they will poo and wee.