Establishing a routine
Avoid supplementing breastfeeding with a bottle of formula until your milk supply is fully established as your breasts may respond by producing less milk.
When you are breastfeeding you should have a good diet and plenty of fluids. You should drink about 2 litres (approx 8 glasses) of water a day or other drinks like herbal teas, milk or pure fruit juice. The advice is to rest as much as you can but in reality this is often not possible.
Let your baby decide when he needs to feed and when he has had enough. All breastfeeding counsellors agree that in order to produce enough milk, it is essential that the breasts are stimulated frequently during the first few weeks.
To begin with he will only take quite small amounts as his stomach is only about the size of a walnut but if your baby is allowed to feed as often as he wants he will be telling your breasts how much milk he needs. The more often he feeds and the more milk he takes at each feed, the more you will supply. This is known as supply and demand.
As time goes on your baby’s feeds will become more predictable and he will be able to go for longer stretches between feeds. Once your milk supply is established you can start getting your baby into a routine.
It’s best to wait 6 to 8 weeks for breastfeeding to become well established before expressing. Sadly breast pumps, whatever their design, do not stimulate your breast as well as your baby.
Sucking is very soothing to babies. However, bear in mind that if you give your baby a dummy in the early weeks, he may feed less at your breast, which may well affect your milk supply. If you feel the need to give your baby a dummy at least wait until your milk supply is well established.
How do you know if your baby is getting enough milk?
As long as your baby is waking for feeds, taking feeds well, having wet and dirty nappies and gaining weight he will be getting enough.
During the first week of life, it is expected that a baby will lose up to 10% of his or her birth weight. However, your baby should steafily gain weight after then and he should be back to his birth weight by the end of the third week.