How Often Should Your Baby Feed?

There are so many theories about breastfeeding that no one could blame a new Mom for being a little confused. Doctors, health experts and mothers themselves have different opinions on how often, how much, and when and where babies should feed. How often you breastfeed your baby will depend on whether or not you choose to feed her "on demand" (namely, when your baby lets you know that she's hungry), or you decide to try and establish your baby in a feeding routine from very early on. Strict feeding schedules were popular among new mothers in the past, but from the 1960s onwards many women have opted for a more flexible approach. Supporters of both techniques often disagree strongly with one another, but as a Mom, it's up to you (in consultation with your doctor) to decide on the best method for you and your baby. For the purposes of this article, we're going to talk about how many times a day a baby will breastfeed if you let her decide when she should eat.

How Often?

Doctors say that in the first month of her life, your baby will probably feed between six and 12 times a day. Nature lets your baby know what is good for her; and the more frequently she feeds, the more she stimulates your milk production, ensuring that she'll always have a ready supply when she needs it. So don't be worried if you feel like you are feeding her around the clock. Some newborns feed as often as once every one and a half to two hours. In the very early days, you might find that your baby demands to be fed at completely irregular intervals. While this can be very tiring for you, again, it's not necessarily something to worry about - unless you think she might not be getting enough milk. Breast milk is very easily digested by your baby's system and it's quite normal, for example, for a breast-fed baby to feed more often than a formula-fed baby. When your baby reaches one to two months, you should expect the number of feeds to reduce slightly per day. Somewhere between seven and nine daily feeds is considered "normal." This is because your baby is becoming stronger and more skilled at feeding, and is better able to get out the milk (and especially the highly nutritious milk from the back of the breast). As your baby gets older and better at feeding, you should find it easier to establish a more regular feeding pattern.

Should I Wake Her To Feed?

Newborn babies can be sleepy little things; therefore doctors do recommend that you wake a baby at least once every four hours for a feed (if she does not wake naturally).

Everything Is Ok When...

- Your baby seems to be satisfied and comfortable after each feed.

- She's healthy and putting on weight after two weeks.

- After the first few days, she's wetting her diaper at least six times a day and passing stools (yellow in color) at least twice a day.

Still Concerned?

Of course, if you have any concerns about the frequency of your baby's feeds, or you think she might not be getting as much as she needs, then you must contact your health care provider for advice and support. Breastfeeding is easier for some women than for others and almost all women find it challenging at some point during the early days.

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