Think about every time you have had something to eat or drink today – whether it was just picking a grape from the fruit bowl as you passed by, a cup of tea or a main meal. Like us, babies like to eat little and often, and breastfeeding offers a way to satisfy lots of needs: comfort, reassurance, warmth, drinks, as well as a ‘main meal’.
Your baby will also have a tiny stomach. On day one it is only the size of a marble, and can only take a few millimetres of liquid at a time. It grows quite quickly in the first week or so, but is still only about the size of a large egg by one month.
Babies may not feed regularly – sometimes going for longer stretches between feeds and then ‘cluster feeding’ or having frequent feeds for a period of time. To begin with this can feel unpredictable, but after a few weeks you may find that your baby has adopted his or her own rhythm or pattern of breastfeeding and you may start to expect when they will need feeding. It is likely that this pattern will change as your baby grows!
Every baby is different; some feed at regular intervals, some feed constantly. Some babies can consume lots of milk in a few minutes and others take longer to get the milk they need. All can be normal, as long as baby is healthy. Knowing the signs that your baby is getting plenty of milk can help reassure you. See is my baby getting enough milk?