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Breastfeeding Frequency

Tri-City Medical Services

Breastfeeding Frequency2020-06-18T16:06:03-07:00
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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.

Nurse until baby shows signs of being full.

  • Self-detaches.
  • 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.

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.