How Much & How Often to Breastfeed for New Born

Breastfeeding newborns can bring up many questions and concerns, even if it’s not your first baby. Personally, breastfeeding was very frustrating for me in the beginning with my first child, which is a very common feeling to have. My daughter didn’t latch on easily and usually fell asleep before she was finished nursing, which resulted in very frequent feedings. When my second baby came around, the beginning stages came like a breeze, but even that experience had its own set of complications along the way. I hope to cover a few of these concerns in this post and in my next few entries.

Perhaps the most common question asked when it comes to breastfeeding newborns is – 

Breastfeed for New Born

How often do I feed my baby?

A newborn needs to be fed typically 8 to 12 times in a 24-hour period for the first month or so. This frequency of feedings is usually more often than you will see with a formula fed baby. The reason is that breast milk is easier to digest than formula, so it gets passed through baby’s system faster, resulting in the baby being hungry more often and having more dirty diapers. By the time your baby is between a month and 2 months old, he will probably be nursing 7 to 9 times a day, but this can vary. Babies go through growth spurts where they will nurse more frequently. A newborn should be allowed to nurse on demand, which could be as often as every hour & a half to three hours (for my son, this sometimes meant every hour). A newborn should not be allowed to go more than 3 hours between feedings in the beginning, even overnight. As your baby gets a little mature, she will slow down on nightly feedings and (hopefully) allow you some more blissful sleep! But again, this can vary from baby to baby. In my experience, my daughter was mostly sleeping through the night by 4 months old, with one feeding around midnight. My son, however, is still waking up 3 to 4 times a night to nurse at 4 months old.

To time your baby’s feedings properly, start when your baby starts the nursing session, not when she is finished. You may at times feel like you are constantly nursing, but rest assured, the frequency of feedings will decrease as your baby gets older. The length of time for each nursing session will also decrease as your baby grows and becomes more efficient at nursing. Very young babies take longer to eat than older babies. Probably the best rule of thumb on how often to feed your baby is to let your baby be your guide. Just remember, in the very early stages do not let baby go more than 3 hours between feedings. Otherwise, your baby will let you know when he is hungry by displaying specific hunger cues, which I will go above in my next blog.

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