Frequency and Duration of Feedings
Guidelines and Technical Pointers
Most babies need and naturally request at least 8 to 12 feedings in a 24-hr period.
- Approximately every 1-3 hours with one 4 to 5 hours stretch (hopefully at night).
- May cluster feed- your baby may want several feedings in a row. It is important to feed your baby when he requests or shows signs of hunger. Each cluster feed counts toward the 8 to 12 in a 24-hour period.
In the early sleepy days, baby tends not to request feedings often enough.
- Notice the hunger cues.
- Wake the baby 2 ½ hours from the beginning of the last feeding.
- Keep baby interested and awake.
- You may want to massage and compress your breast during a feeding to increase milk flow to the baby. This will gently “remind” him to continue sucking.
- If your baby continues to be sleepy, then ask for assistance from your lactation consultant.
Nurse until baby shows signs of being full.
- Sucks less vigorously.
- Becomes sleepy.
- Breast will feel less full.
- It is important to listen for nutritive sucking.
- First three days may be difficult to hear swallowing. If heard, it sounds like a soft, “Ca-Ca” or a soft expiration.
- After larger volume milk arrives, you will hear definite suck-to-swallow ratio changes.