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Indicators of effective breastfeeding in the woman

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

The following signs indicate that the baby is successfully feeding:

  • audible and visible swallowing (1)
    • swallows may be less audible until milk comes in day 3-4 (2)

  • baby's cheeks are round (not hollowed or sucked in) (3)

  • initial rapid sucking pattern which changes to slower sucks with pauses and soft swallowing

  • the infant is calm, the arms and hands are relaxed

  • the mouth is moist

  • regular soaked nappies
    • on days 1-2 - 1-2 or more
    • on days 3-4 - 3 or more, heavier
    • day 7+ - 6 or more, heavy

  • baby feeds for 5 -30 minutes at most feeds

  • at the end of the feed the baby lets go spontaneously or does so when the breast is gently lifted

  • the baby is content after most feeds (1,2)

Indicators of effective breastfeeding in the woman are:

  • softening of their breast during the feed
  • breast and nipples are comfortable
  • nipple shape is the same as when feed began or slightly elongated
  • feeling relaxed and sleepy (1,2)


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