Why is the first 72 hours of breastfeeding so important for the newborn baby and mother?

Updated: Jun 22, 2019

Painful nipple trauma, breast engorgement and early mastitis may be avoided if the first breastfeed and first 72 hours are uninterrupted and carefully observed.

After the first uninterrupted breastfeed, it's not uncommon for a baby to sleep for 6 hours or sometimes more.

In today's fast paced world, this time is often interrupted and the baby is woken

After waking from this first sleep, it's really important that the baby feeds frequently from both breasts to increase milk volume and to prevent breast engorgement and/or early mastitis. Equally important during this time is for the baby to be cradled and symmetrical at the breast to prevent painful nipple trauma.


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As the volume of milk increases over these 72 hours, you will notice your baby’s behaviour start to change, such as:

  • More frequent swallowing

  • Reaching satisfaction

  • An increasing volume of urine

  • An increasing volume and change in colour and consistency of poos (stools)​

At this stage (once you feel your milk volume has peaked), it's wise to continue feeding your baby from both breasts each feed, with a rest and digest period after the first breast. Although there is no set timeframe, the average breastfeed for a newborn and young baby may take around 1 hour, which includes the rest and digest period and nappy change.

Every mother deserves the right to breastfeed her baby. The Thompson Method is a gentle approach to breastfeeding.


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Dr Robyn Thompson

The Thompson Method
47/20 Masthead Drive, Cleveland, Queensland, Australia 4163

P: 0419 315 948

E: bfc@thethompsonmethod.com

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