A baby's appetite is not always the same. It changes constantly during the first twelve months of life. Besides, every child is different. The first three to four weeks after birth are a time when you first get to know your baby and their needs. After this time, you will find it much easier to recognise their signals. Then breastfeeding becomes so natural to you that you don't even have to think about it much. It is best to have someone who has a lot of experience with breastfeeding support you during the first few weeks.

Most babies give clear signals when they want to nurse. They become restless and smack their lips. Some babies suck their fingers or objects. Most babies only cry when these signals are not heeded. However, it's important that you don't automatically feed your child every time they get restless. This is especially true they were already nursed quite recently. While their crying or restlessness may be a sign that they need their next meal, there may be other reasons. Maybe your baby craves closeness. Maybe they want to be picked up and carried, they need a fresh nappy or they can't get to sleep on their own.

Newborn babies nurse frequently. They have tiny stomachs and can only hold small portions. However, as your milk production increases over time, your baby will nurse less often and drink larger portions. However, every baby is different and there are also big differences from person to person in terms of how much milk they produces over which period of time. The best thing to do is to accept the situation you and your child find yourselves in. It is only important that the baby gains weight regularly. This is also checked during the paediatric U-Check-Ups. If you have a midwife, she will also watch your baby’s healthy development. In addition to their weight, you can tell if your child is feeding enough by looking at their diapers. Babies wet their diapers about every half hour. Therefore, they should also be swaddled before each meal. Most babies also have bowel movements several times a day during the first few weeks of their lives. If you feel that your baby is not getting their fill from nursing at your breast, talk to a midwife or lactation consultant. She will check if your baby is getting enough milk by observing a breastfeeding session or by weighing them. Emptying your breasts frequently stimulates milk production. It is important that you take your time when nursing or feeding and let the baby drink in peace. In doing so, you should prevent it from falling asleep prematurely. If it drinks very fast, better take a little break in between. Babies need enough sucking time to feel a sense of satiety.

Almost any woman can produce the necessary amount of milk if she caters to the needs of her baby. The decisive factor is not the feeding intervals, the duration of the individual meal or the amount your baby drinks, but the total daily amount that they consume. That's why midwives and lactation consultants warn against weighing babies before and after every meal to check how much milk they have had. It is enough if the midwife or your paediatrician checks the baby's weight regularly.

Your baby goes through exciting developmental phases, especially in the first year of life. You will notice that their appetite changes with these stages. That's not unusual. Stress also has an influence on the baby's drinking behaviour. Similarly, external factors cause a change in drinking behavior. For example, high heat makes children want to drink more often. If your baby is still fully breastfed, they do not need extra fluids. With more frequent breastfeeding, the baby absorbs mainly the watery part of the milk, which quenches their thirst. Your baby will still be fine in the heat even if they exclusively drink infant formula. If they are already eating complementary foods, you should also offer them water or unsweetened herbal tea when the weather is hot.

You can tell if your baby needs more fluids by noting several things. An important sign of this is when they produce very little urine and when the urine is very yellow in colour. A sunken fontanel - which is the part of the head that is still soft and not covered with bone - also indicates that your child has not been getting enough fluids. If you notice these signs, your baby needs to drink more. It's okay if you have to wake them up at night so they can drink. However, you should contact your paediatrician or midwife if your baby has not had a drink for a day or if their nappy has hardly been wet for six hours. Also, if the urine is very dark and smells intensely, you should contact a doctor or midwife.