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Your newborn baby's first feed

11 May 2018

In your baby’s first six months of life, breast milk is all they need to satisfy their hunger and thirst. Lactation Consultant Vicki Hallion explains what you need to know to start your breastfeeding journey off right.

How soon after birth will my milk come in?

During pregnancy, your breasts start to produce milk in preparation for birth.

The first milk that your breasts will make is called colostrum.

Colostrum usually lasts for up to three days after birth. It then changes to a more liquid consistency and becomes clearer. It may even be slightly coloured and flavoured by the food you have eaten.

As well as changing in appearance, you will also start to produce more milk.

Is all breast milk created equal?

It is easy to differentiate colostrum from regular breast milk as it is thicker and usually yellow/orange in colour.

Colostrum is important in the healthy development of your newborn, as it contains vital nutrients and antibodies to help kick-start their immune system.

However, your “regular” breast milk also contains everything your baby needs to thrive and grow.

Will I be able to produce enough breast milk to satisfy my baby?

Generally speaking, your breasts are up to the challenge no matter how often your baby wants a feed. In fact, the more your baby feeds the more milk your breasts will produce.

It is normal for your baby to feed between six and 12 times in 24 hours.

How does my body keep up with demand?

When your baby sucks your breast, your body produces hormones which stimulate milk production.

Sometimes, just thinking about your baby is enough to trigger your “let down” reflex.

Every woman is different, and breastfeeding takes practice. If you have any concerns during your breastfeeding journey, contact your midwife or child health nurse for advice. 

St John of God Health Care
Vicki Hallion - Lactation Consultant

Vicki Hallion is a lactation consultant at St John of God Murdoch Hospital who is passionate about helping women have successful breastfeeding experience. She has worked at the hospital for more than 20 years as a midwife and lactation consultant.