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Breastfeeding information : Good things take time

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Chevron Breastfeeding your baby

Chevron Continuing to breastfeed​

Chevron Useful links


Child and Family Health welcomes all families. 
Child and Family Health Centres are staffed by registered nurses with recognised qualifications in the speciality of child and family health and offer:
  • Breastfeeding advice and tips for all ages
  • One on one support 
Please contact your local centre for an appointment

BreastfeedingPic ​​

ChevronBreastfeeding your bab​y – Good things take time (NSW Health)

Breastfeeding is the normal and most valuable way to feed your baby.  But breastfeeding is a skill that may take time, patience and practice both for mother and baby.

Breastmilk provides essential needs for growth, development and protection from illness. Babies receiving enough breastmilk don’t need water, juice or formula. 

Your baby will use body language to let you know when they are hungry, these are called ‘feeding cues’. To learn more about ‘feeding cues’ you can watch videos on: 

External Link Raising Children Network or External LinkAustralian Breastfeeding Association

Your baby may want to feed 8-12 times in a 24-hour period, including overnight. This can mean feeding every 2-3 hours along with some cluster feeding, which is when your baby may feed several times in a couple of hours.  As babies get older they tend to feed less often and the feeding time gets shorter.

But how do you know if your baby is getting enough milk? There should be at least 6 heavy wet nappies a day and the urine (wee) should be clear or very pale in colour and not smelly. If the urine is dark yellow and or has a strong smell, then you need to speak to a doctor. In the first few months your baby may have several bowel movements (poos) a day which may be very soft and runny. After that your baby may have not as many poos a day, but they may still be runny or soft. 

Partners can support breastfeeding by:

  • Changing nappies
  • Bathing
  • Settling
  • Assisting with meals
  • Caring for other children and pets
Partners can also learn about breastfeeding and offer their encouragement. 

Child and Family Health Nurses will be able to help you with breastfeeding advice and support.  A number of the Child and Family Health Nurses are also lactation consultants.
ChevronRaising Children Network - Breastfeeding VideosExternal Link

 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents

​Follow the below links for information on:
  • How to support partners in breastfeeding their babies
  • Breastfeeding positions
  • How to attach baby to your breasts

 Common issues

  • Coping with lots of different advice: In the first few weeks as your baby and you are learning how to breastfeed it can sometimes seem very confusing. During this time your friends and family may also want to support you by sharing their breastfeeding experiences, which can add to your confusion and make you worry if you are doing it right. At your local Child and Family Health Centre, the Child and Family Health Nurses​ are able to work with you to find out what advice works best for you and your baby. 
  • Full breasts: Breasts may feel full and lumpy when your milk first 'comes in', at times causing discomfort and making it hard for your baby to attach. Before beginning the feed, hand express some milk so that the areola (the coloured area around the nipple) is softened so you can easily compress the area between the thumb and the index finger. Applying cold compresses after the feed may help to relieve some of the breast discomfort, swelling and tenderness.
  • Tender nipples: Tender nipples in the first few weeks of breastfeeding are common and should subside with time. If your nipples remain tender or the tenderness increases, this may mean that your baby is not always correctly attached to the breast. A sign of an incorrect attachment is that your nipple looks squashed or pinched after your baby comes off the breast. You are able to seek advice from your Child and Family Health Nurse or Australian Breastfeeding Association Counsellor for further help.
  • Cracked nipples: A sharp pain in your nipple lasting through the feed may indicate grazed or cracked nipples. Correcting your baby’s position and attachment at the breast will help heal grazes and cracks. If you have persistent pain and/or nipple damage, talk to your Child and Family Health Nurse or an Australian Breastfeeding Association Counsellor as this is not normal
  • Breast infection (Mastitis): If your breast becomes hard, red and painful, you feel sick, feverish and generally unwell, you may have mastitis. Common causes of mastitis are nipple damage, an oversupply of breast milk, sudden changes in feeding patterns, skipped feeds or being overtired and stressed. Seek breastfeeding support and treatment options at your local Child and Family Health Centre or local General Practitioner (GP)
    • Before a feed - Apply warmth to the affected breast before a feed. This can help assist the letdown reflex and promote milk flow.
    • After a feed - Apply cold compresses to reduce the discomfort and swelling.

Massaging the red area on your breast or breast lump is not advised as this could lead to further breast tissue damage. 

Weaning your baby at this time is not recommended as it may make the mastitis worse. 

If you feel very unwell, see your GP as soon as possible. If your symptoms don’t improve see your GP. You may need antibiotics.  

Remember to follow your normal diet, increase fluids, rest when able and accept offers of help from your family and friends. 

You can also talk to your doctor or pharmacist about anti-inflammatory medication to reduce pain and swelling.

 Increasing your supply

Many mothers feel they have a low milk supply or their milk is not good enough when their baby becomes unsettled. This is usually not the case. 
REMEMBER: Your milk is perfect for your baby. Check the number of wet and dirty nappies each day (at least six pale, very wet nappies in 24 hours is normal) and if your baby looks well, bright and is gaining weight then you do not have a low milk supply. The more your baby breastfeeds, the more milk you will make. 
To increase your milk supply:
  • Breastfeed your baby more frequently during both the day and night.
  • Make sure your baby can suck effectively by being positioned and attached as best you can. 
  • Go back to the first breast after finishing the second breast. Switching back and forwards between breasts will increase your supply
  • Encourage skin to skin contact 
  • Express for a few minutes after as many feeds as possible. 
  • Try to rest
  • Stay hydrated as breastfeeding can make you thirsty and try not to skip meals.
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Lower your caffeine, and/or cigarette intake as these can inhibit your ‘let-down’ reflex.
  • Always breastfeed your baby first before giving them other foods or drink.
If you are concerned about your milk supply, talk to your child and family health nurse who will work with you to develop a plan to increase your supply. 

For further advice contact your local Child and Family Health Centre or

 Expressing and Storage of Breastmilk

​Parents may need, or choose, to express and offer their baby breast milk via a bottle or cup. The reason why will be different for every parent.   
There are two options for expressing your breastmilk; either 
  • By hand,
  • Or using a pump (electric or manual)

Every mother will express different amount of milk and how much you express will depend on:
  • The time of the day
  • How long since you expressed last
  • The way you express and how long you have been expressing 

How often you express depends on the reason you are doing so.
  • If you are trying to increase your supply you might be aiming to express after as many feeds as you are able to manage 
  • If you are going to be away from your baby for one or more feeds, then you will need to start expressing a few days before. This will allow you to collect enough milk. 
  • If you are expressing for all of your baby’s feeds, then you would need to express 6-8 times over a 24 hours period. Night-time expressing is important for your milk supply. Initially expressing may need to be every 3 hours (4-5 hourly during the night). Over time mothers will see a pattern of how the milk they are making.  More frequent expressing is more helpful to boost supply rather than longer periods of time on the pump

Expressed milk can be stored in special breast milk storage bags or a clean closed container. 

The below links provides further information on expressing and storage of expressed breast milk.

External Link

 ​Alcohol and Breastfeeding

​To prevent harm from alcohol to their unborn child, women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should not drink alcohol. 

For women who are breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is the safest option for their baby.

External Link

For further advice contact your local Child and Family Health Centre or

Or visit the:  External Link Australian Breastfeeding Association website

Remember, don’t share a bed with your baby, particularly if you have been drinking alcohol, if you take drugs or if you’re a smoker

External Link

 ​Breastfeeding and Prescription; Non-prescription Medications or Herbal Preparations

Some medications and herbal preparations taken by a mother who is breastfeeding can pass into her breastmilk

If your doctor prescribes you any medication, it is important to always tell them if you are breastfeeding. 

If you are unsure about taking any over-the-counter medications (medicines that don’t need a prescription), or herbal preparations, check with your pharmacist or GP. 

For current information about the use of medicines/drugs during breastfeeding visit: 

  • Mothersafe​ (Information regarding medications for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers)

 ​Breastfeeding and Smoking/Vaping

If you are a smoker, breastfeeding is still better than not breastfeeding provided your baby is exposed as little as possible to tobacco smoke. 
Nicotine (the drug in tobacco) and other chemicals in cigarettes can pass from you to your baby through your breastmilk. There are also many other harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke and in vapes. 
Smoking has a number of effects on breastfeeding mothers:
  • The ‘let-down’ reflex is inhibited. 
  • The milk supply may be reduced.
  • Mothers tend to breastfeed for a shorter time.
Strategies to minimise risks to your baby include:
  • Smoke/vape after, not before feeding 
  • Do not smoke/vape while holding baby
  • Prevent nicotine and toxin contact with the baby by washing hands and changing clothes after smoking
  • Keep the house and car smoke free
  • If you want support to stop smoking contact External LinkQuitline (phone: 137848) or External LinkiCanQuit)
Babies who are exposed to tobacco smoke before or after birth are at increased risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infants (SUDI)

Further information about the impact of tobacco smoke on children can be accessed at:

Continuing to breastfeed​​​

It is recommended that infants be exclusively breastfed with no other milk, food or drinks until around 6 months of age. At around 6 months the World Health Organisation and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council recommend the introduction of family foods.

 Your baby will give you ‘cues’ that they are ready for family foods such as holding their head steady, being able to stay upright in a sitting position. Your baby may also show a keen interest in the food you are eating, wanting to pick up; hold food and try to put it in their mouth. 

Breastmilk is still your baby’s most in food between 6-12 months while family foods are introduced. 

Breastfeeding can continue to provide health benefits in your baby’s second year of life and beyond. The longer you breastfeed, the greater the benefit for you and your baby. 

Any breastmilk you can provide is good for your baby.