Feeding your newborn: What to expect in the first few weeks

Feeding your newborn in the first few weeks

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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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