Feeding your newborn in the first few weeks

Chris Minogue

Chris Minogue

Chris is Australia's leading Mothercraft Nurse, with over 35 years experience working in both public and private hospitals. Chris has worked with thousands of families globally, to support them through all aspects of parenting – from newborn through to toddler years. Chris also specialises in twins, surrogacy and travel, and has worked with some of the biggest...
Updated on Jun 14, 2024 · 1 min read
Feeding your newborn in the first few weeks

Establishing a rhythm with feeding will take time, as you go through this new experience together. Whilst you may initiate breastfeeding from the beginning, this isn’t always possible for all. Whether you choose to breast, bottle or mix feed your little one, the most important thing is that they are being fed well and the technique you choose suits your families needs.

Here are some of our key tips on what you can expect from your newborn’s feeding cycles during the first weeks:

Hunger Cues

A lot of people ask what to look for in terms of hunger signs, but these ‘cues’ can look very similar to typical baby behaviour. Hunger at this stage is all about timing – so if your baby is unsettled and it has been 2.5 hours since their last feed, chances are they are hungry.

Feeding Cycles

  • Your baby will be feeding around the clock at this stage, with as many feeds during the day as at night
  • Feeds can take anywhere between 45 mins – 60 mins at a time
  • Your baby will stay awake for the length of the feed and a cuddle

Signs your baby has been fed well 

  • They are relaxed and content
  • Have a sleep pattern of 1½ hours
  • They have a lot of wet and dirty nappies
  • They are relaxed after a feed
  • If breastfeeding, your breasts are soft after a feed

Looking after yourself

It is important to ensure that you are getting the nourishment you need to sustain this feeding pattern in the early days. You can do this by eating nutrient-rich foods and drinking plenty of water – especially during feeds if you are breastfeeding.

Try to rest whenever you can, even if it is just closing your eyes while your baby sleeps.

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