Breastfeeding Routine

Need a Breastfeeding Routine?

Are you confused on how often you need to feed baby, whether or not you should wake baby for feedings or put him on a feeding schedule?

It is important that Moms stop looking at the clock, but start concentrating more on baby. A strict schedule is not needed. Think of the way you eat during the day...would you like it if someone took your snacks away?

How often should baby be Breastfed?

What is the average feeding frequency? On average newborns will drink between 8 – 12 times per 24 hours, but it is also totally normal for a newborn to breastfeed every hour or once every 3 hours. It is also normal if baby drinks more during certain times and less during others. Very few babies will adopt a specific pattern (for example eating exactly every three hours).

Baby should not be breastfed less than eight times per 24 hours. The more you breastfeed, the better especially in the beginning as this is when a good milk supply is established.

Time Baby Spends at One Nursing Session

Some babies take 5 or 10 minutes to finish while others may take 45 minutes or longer. As a baby gets older, he/she may start breastfeeding for shorter periods of time and may start feeding at regular intervals.

Feeding a newborn on demand has its advantages:

* It gives baby practice of nursing.

* The risk of jaundice in a baby that breastfeeds often, is less.

* Feeding often will help Mom's uterus return to its normal size quicker and reduces the chances of hemorrhage.

* It prevents engorgement, which is common in the first few days.

* It establishes a good milk supply.

A mother should not restrict the time baby spends on a breast. It is best to allow baby to breastfeed until he/she has decided that they have had enough, and then change sides if necessary. Doing this will ensure that baby receives the fattier hind milk, which is the milk produced later on in a feed.

Should I wake baby to breastfeed?

* During the day baby should be breastfed at least every 3 hours and baby can be woken if he/she sleeps past this time.

* You do not need to wake baby at night if he/she have breastfed at least 8 times during the day. But keep in mind that your milk supply can drop if you do not breastfeed at least once at night.

What if baby wants to breastfeed before three hours have passed?

After a while, you will learn to recognize the signs of hunger in baby. This usually includes things like routing for your breast or sucking of fingers.

It is best to breastfeed when you see these signs instead of waiting for baby to cry as this could become frustrating and cause difficulty in latching.

You do not need to wait specific times before breastfeeding. In the beginning it is best to breastfeed as much as possible, even if you think your breasts are empty. They are actually not, as breast milk is produced continuously. The more stimulation your breasts get, the better, as this is what signals your body to produce more milk.

Cluster Feeding

This is when a baby feeds every half an hour for a few hours at a time. They usually sleep for long periods afterwards. Cluster feeding mostly occurs in the evening hours. Cluster feeding can also occur in children that are a few months of age, not just newborns.

Read more on cluster feeding here.

Growth Spurts

This is a period of increased growth in baby. During this time a baby will usually drink more often than usual. This is so that the mother can build a bigger supply for baby's increased needs during this time.

Read more on growth spurts here.

Can I overfeed my breastfed baby? Read more on this here

How do I know if baby is getting enough milk?

* During breastfeeding Mom should be able to see baby swallowing.

* Is baby picking up weight? If he/she is, then baby are receiving enough milk.

Read more on the minimum amount of stool and urine output required for the first few days and weeks of baby's life.

How to Establish a Breastfeeding Routine that Fits Well for Mom and Baby

* The first few weeks Mom should just concentrate on getting to know baby and establishing a good milk supply.

* Try introducing a feed; wake/sleep pattern or something that is comfortable for you and baby. Baby will usually catch on to whatever feeding pattern you introduce.

* Start baby’s day at a specific time every morning. This can be very helpful to those Moms who need to breastfeed before going to work. Baby will start to adapt to a breastfeeding routine within about two weeks.

* Going to bed at a set time every night will also help set a breastfeeding routine. This way Mom has some predictability of when baby will breastfeed.

* Usually if you keep other things for specific times such as watching television or having a bath, baby will start to recognize these things and associate them with a feeding time.

Should I put my breastfed baby on a feeding schedule?

It is best not to, as research has shown that a baby breastfed on demand thrives much better than one put on a tight breastfeeding schedule. Frequent breastfeeding will also help Mom increase her milk supply. It is best to wait it out and find a breastfeeding routine that works for both you and baby.

Other pages on "breastfeeding problems" in connection with a breastfeeding routine

- Breastfeeding in public

- Breastfeeding at night

- Breastfeeding on demand

- Working and breastfeeding

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Site by BFeeding Mamma, Tracy Behr. Currently studying through Child birth International (CBC, CBD). Also an accomplished author and Mommy of two.