Sign In
Breastfeeding information

On this page:

Chevron Breastfeeding your baby

Chevron Useful links

Chevron Breastfeeding Support Locations

 

Child and family health supports every mother's choice of how they feed their infant and welcomes all mothers who wish to contact us.

If you have chosen to breastfeed and you would like support, contact your local child and family health centre, as every centre offers breastfeeding support and guidance.

The child and family health nurse at your local centre will be able to help you with your breastfeeding, providing you with individualised information and care. ​

BreastfeedingPic

Breastfeeding a newborn

World Health Organisation (WHO): Breastfeeding Advice for Women Positive for COVID-19

Breastfeeding a newborn

Breastfeeding an 18 month child

Every child and family health centre has breastfeeding support that you are able to drop into without an appointment.

Babies cannot always feed from your breast and you may chose to bottle-feed your baby expressed breast milk (EBM). This will keep up your breast milk supply and also give your baby the benefits of breastmilk. Bottle-feeding is also a great way to bond with your baby by cuddling, talking and looking into your baby's eyes.

For breastfeeding support days and times in your local area, please see the information below.

Breastfeeding your baby

Breastfeeding is the normal and most beneficial way to feed your baby. It provides all your baby's essential needs for growth, development and protection from illness.

Breastfeeding is a skill that takes time, patience and practice for the mother and baby to learn.

Your local child and family health nurse can provide breastfeeding support at the initial universal health home visit (UHHV) and through the breastfeeding support drop-in clinics, self-appointment clinics and early parenting classes at the child and family health centres.

In a 24 hour cycle babies will have periods where they feed frequently, periods of wakefulness and may have some longer sleep cycles. Baby's are very good at regulating how much breastmilk they take.The length of each breastfeed will vary over the 24 hour cycle.

infantstomachsize

 Common issues

  • 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, express some milk so that the aerola can easily be compressed between the thumb and the index finger. To ease breast discomfort, applying cold compresses after the feed may help relieve some of the 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 latching to the breast properly. A sign of this can be that your nipple looks squashed or pinched after your baby comes off the breast. Seek advice from your child and family health nurse or Australian breastfeeding 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 latch will help heal grazes and cracks. If it is too painful to breastfeed, express your milk for your baby while your nipple heals. Seek advice from your child and family health nurse or an Australian breastfeeding counsellor.
  • 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, oversupply of breast milk, blocked milk duct, 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 GP.
  • Conflicting advice: In the first few weeks, your baby's feeding pattern and behaviour can change frequently.There are many different ways of breastfeeding and caring for your baby. It can be a confusing time as often friends and family will want to support you by sharing their experiences with you. At your local centre, the child and family health nurses are able to assist you to find out what works and what is best for you and your baby. Your child and family health nurse can provide information and support during this time.

 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, oversupply of breast milk, blocked milk duct, sudden changes in feeding patterns, skipped feeds or being overtired and stressed. Seek breatsfeeding support and treatment options at your local child and family health centre or local GP.
  • Before a Feed - Apply warmth to the affected breast before a feed. This can help assist the let down reflex and promote milk flow.
  • During a Feed- Very gently massage the area, using a drop of oil on your fingers to prevent skin friction.
  • After a Feed - Apply cold compresses to reduce the discomfort and swelling.

Feed your baby on the affected breast first as it is best to let the baby drain the breast as much as possible. You may need to express after the feed to achieve this.

Weaning your baby at this time is not recommended as it may aggravate the mastitis. If you feel very ill or the problem doesn’t resolve in 24 hours, see your GP as you may need antibiotics. You must also rest, increase fluids and accept offers of assistance.

 Increasing your supply

  • Check your baby is positioned and attached correctly.
  • Increase the number of times you feed
  • Soften the first breast and then offer the second.  Offer both breasts a second time.
  • Offer a 'top up' breast feed if your baby is unsettled
  • Encourage skin-to skin contact
  • Avoid giving formula to your baby unless it is necessary for their health or as indicated by a health professional.
  • Express for a few minutes after as many feeds as possible.
  • Try to rest, accept practical help at home and surround yourself with supportive family and friends.

Breastfeeding beyond…

It is recommended that you breastfeed your baby until about six months without offering the baby additional foods or fluids. After this time begin to offer family foods and water (in a cup), while continuing to breastfeed until 12 months or longer. 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.

For further information see your child and family health nurse.