Are you confused about how often you need to feed your baby, whether or
not you should wake your baby for feedings, or put him/her on a feeding schedule?
It is important that as mothers, we stop looking at the clock, and start concentrating more on our babies. 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?
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 for a baby to drink more during certain times and less during others. Very few babies will adopt a specific pattern (for example eating exactly every three hours).
A 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.
A mother should not restrict the time her baby spends on a breast. It is best to allow a baby to breastfeed until he/she has decided that they have had enough, and then change sides if necessary. Doing this will ensure that the baby receives the fattier hindmilk, which is the milk produced later on in a feed.
What if your baby wants to breastfeed before three hours have passed?
After a while, you will learn to recognize the signs of hunger that your baby shows. 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 your 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.
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.
This is a period of increased growth in a baby. During this time a baby will
usually drink more often than usual. This is so that the mother can build a
larger volume of milk for her baby's increased needs during this time.
How do I know that my baby is drinking enough milk?
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 a mother increase her milk supply. It is best to wait it out and find a breastfeeding routine that works for both you and your baby.
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