Effective breastfeeding

What does “breastfeeding well” mean?

There are many signs that indicate when mothers and babies are “breastfeeding well” or effectively. The baby should let the mother know when she or he is hungry and should latch easily. At the beginning of a feed, the baby may choke, gulp, breathe more quickly, or make caw or ah sounds. During the feed the baby should stay latched and settle. Mothers should offer the second breast if the baby is still hungry after the first. The baby should no longer be hungry after the second breast. The duration of the feeds and number of feeds each day should be similar to other babies of the same age. The baby should also be generally happy, look fleshy, and grow well.

A) Describing effective breastfeeding

For breastfeeding to be effective, the baby should:

  • Have a normal breastfeeding pattern.
  • Take in enough milk at each feed to be satisfied and happy afterwards. 
  • Grow well without milk supplements.

It is possible for a mother to experience nipple or breast pain and still breastfeed effectively. Ineffective breastfeeding can cause or worsen such pain. 

B) Normal breastfeeding patterns

Normal babies will mostly have typical breastfeeding patterns and will:

Mothers should:

Breastfeeding well means allowing the baby to direct the timing and nature of the feeds. Giving control of feeds to the baby can cause some mothers to worry about their baby’s milk intake. Such anxiety is more likely if the baby is small or sick. 

D) Signs that a baby is taking in enough milk to grow well

If a baby is breastfeeding well and taking in enough milk to be growing normally, the baby should: