How much does our baby need?


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How do I know that my baby is getting enough?

Listen to your baby. Your baby will tell you when it’s time to eat and how much he or she needs.

Early signs of hunger are:    

  • Rooting at chest
  • Sucking on his or her tongue, hand or fingers
  • Rapid eye movements
  • Attempting to position self to feed

Late signs of hunger are:

  • Fussing
  • Crying
  • Moving head frantically from side to side

If baby is too upset, try placing Baby skin-to-skin. This can help Baby relax.


Signs of fullness are:

How often? How long?

  • Turns head away
  • Closes mouth
  • Stops sucking
  • Appears sleepy

A healthy full term baby can eat for however long he or she likes.  There is no time limit.  Time between feeds may vary. There will be days that all the baby wants to do is feed. This is normal. It does not mean that you don’t have enough milk.

Try to allow your baby to finish one breast before offering the other breast. The longer that baby is at one breast, the more energy filled hind milk baby will get.

Night shifts are a given – especially in the first weeks. You milk production is highest at night. Take advantage of this! Try to sleep when your baby sleeps.  Housework can wait. In those first few weeks, ask for help from family and friends.  Rest, recovery, fluids and eating are important!

If you are concerned about your baby’s eating, speak to your health care professional or a breastfeeding mother/ friend. See our section on When to Get Help

*TIP: Try keeping a water bottle and snacks within arm’s reach of where you usually feed your baby.


How big is our baby’s tummy?

Babies are born with tiny tummies and don’t need very much in the beginning. As they grow their tummies grow too. Your milk production will increase too!

See Breastfeeding your baby: Guidelines for nursing mothers
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