Once you start breastfeeding it’s normal to wonder whether baby's getting enough, or if you should be feeding more often. Happily, your baby will dictate a lot of this. They tend to let you know when they’re hungry, and when they're full.
Each baby will feed at a different pace, some will want to drain both breasts at each feed, and others will want less. It’s just about you being flexible and getting to understand their patterns.
It is common for newborn babies to feed frequently. Your baby will start off needing to be fed around every two to three hours (and as a rough gauge – up to 30 minutes at a time). Some parents are happy feeding their baby on demand and others like to establish more of a routine. As babies grow they feed more quickly and less frequently. Watch out for growth spurts (often around two, four, six and 12 weeks) when they’ll probably feed more often.
As you breastfeed more, hormonal changes and the more your baby feeds will encourage milk production. You know your baby is well fed if they seem satisfied after their feeds and produce lots of wet nappies (at least 6-8 wet nappies in a 24 hour period). They should also gain weight steadily after the first two weeks, have times when they’re awake and alert, and your breasts and nipples shouldn’t be sore.
Remember if you need advice or support you can chat to your midwife, well child provider, Plunket nurse or lactation consultant.