Ideally your baby will have had her first feed within the first hour of birth.
Many babies are pretty sleepy for the first day so take the opportunity to get as much sleep as much as you can between feeds as they will become more frequent as the days continue.
You will be encouraged to demand feed, which means to breastfeed whenever bub wakes up. When on the breast, they will be drinking very low volumes of colostrum, a sticky, yellow milk which is very rich in antibodies. If your baby is early or jaundiced, sometimes you maybe encouraged you to wake baby if she isn’t waking often enough.
Make sure you get help with getting a deep latch each time to avoid getting sore nipples.
By the second day, you may notice bub feeding more often, anywhere from 2-4 hourly.
The second night is usually when babies start cluster feeding, and demanding the breast more and more. This is a VERY tiring night, so keep telling yourself that your baby is bringing your milk in, and being demanding is a good thing.
Each time your baby is on the breast, watch out for swallowing. This is characterised by a pause in the chin and the more frequent the swallows, the closer you are to the colostrum transitioning into breastmilk, which is thinner in consistency and higher in volume.
Top tip: Ask your midwife/LC for help to achieve a deep attachment each time, don’t try to fumble through on your own
A note about cluster feeding: This is when bub feeds quite a lot without sleeping much in between. The advantage is that bub gets more of the fattier hindmilk (which comes when the breast is emptier) and will end up sleeping longer, but this could take several hours! In the early weeks, cluster feeding is expected 1-2 times in 24 hours. If it’s happening more than this, have a chat to your midwife or lactation consultant.