When to feed your newborn

When to feed your newborn

Print When to feed your newborn

Your baby will need to feed frequently. In the early days, expect your baby to feed at least six to eight times and up to 12 times in 24 hours. This frequent feeding helps to establish breast milk supply.

Demand feeding is breastfeeding your baby based on their needs. The more often you feed the more milk you will make.

The Maternity Units of each hospital have a rooming-in policy to help you get to know your baby’s feeding needs. This means you keep your baby with you all the time. ‘Rooming in’ allows you to recognise hunger signs and provides the right environment for demand feeding.

Signs that your baby is ready to feed:

  • crying is a late sign of hunger – don’t wait until then
  • hands up to mouth
  • sucking movements
  • soft cooing, sighing sounds
  • head movements and stretching.

For more information about baby feeding cues (signs)

Ask for help – in hospital

Remember your midwife will be there to help guide you and answer any of your questions.

Ask for help – at home

Call the Breastfeeding Helpline on 1800 mum 2 mum (1800 686 268)

Call the Parent Line on 1300 808 178

Book an appointment with your local Child and Family Health Nurse, call 1300 064 544

This information has been adapted from ‘Maternity Information Package – Your guide to Pregnancy, Birth and Early Parenting’, Tasmanian Health Service, Department of Health, 2017.