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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS

Home > Patients and visitors > Your health > Breastfeeding > Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

How often will my baby feed?

All babies are different, and it may depend on the type of birth you’ve had. Your baby should feed within the first hour after birth to get off to a good start then they should begin to show signs that they’re ready for the next feed. These signs include:

  • Starting to move about as they wake up
  • Moving their head around
  • Finding something to suck, usually their fingers

If your baby doesn’t have a feed in the first hour, try skin-to-skin again, putting them to your breast as soon as possible so that they’re not left without a feed in the first six hours.

Why is baby-led feeding so important?

Baby-led feeding or ‘on-demand feeding’ is important because a newborn baby’s stomach is only the size of a walnut, therefore they will need to feed ‘little and often’. Your baby can have a good feed and be hungry again quite quickly. Babies go through patterns of feeding more and less as they grow. Letting them feed when they need to will ensure that they’re content and getting the milk they need, when they need it.

 jenny and kyrha
Jenny and Kyrha Martindale, Thursby

How long should a feed last?

Every baby is different – some babies want frequent, short feeds and others prefer feeding for longer. Let your baby finish the first breast, then offer the second. If your baby feeds all the time and you’re worried, speak to your midwife or health visitor.

Can I breastfeed after a caesarean?

Yes, you can. Make sure you get a skin-to-skin cuddle with your baby as soon as you’re able to in the theatre or recovery room. If you keep your baby close to you and maintain lots of skin-to-skin contact, it will stimulate your milk supply. Ask your midwife for pain relief before you’re likely to feed your baby so that you can feed comfortably.

How long should I breastfeed for?

Exclusive breastfeeding (with no other food or drink) is recommended for around the first six months of a baby’s life. After this, breastfeed alongside other foods for as long as you and your baby wish.