Breastfeeding is the clasped bond of love and affection between the mother and the baby. The most natural way to make the mother and the baby close to each other and breastfeeding also offers many nutrients and antibodies that are important for the baby. It is said that babies are born hungry, which is why the process of breastfeeding starts between half to one hour since the time they are born. Breastfeeding starts are generally hungry from the moment they are born and are more than happy to start feeding just half an hour to an hours’ time. As the child grows the breastfeeding continues but the interesting thing to know is the duration of each session of feeding as well as the time that should be left between the feedings. This information is vital not only for the first- time mothers but even for the experienced ones as they could be unaware of this and this knowledge could thus help them for the coming babies.
How Long Should a Breastfeeding Session Last?
A new-born baby takes usually between fifteen minutes to half an hr or so for feeding when they start. The babies initially are very sleepy thus the longer duration. The aim of the mother should be to feed the child well and that too from both sides burping after each consecutive side. It is seen that babies generally prefer and are more than happy to be fed with one side, but it is the duty of the mother to ensure that milk is emptied from both the sides, whether it is one by one in the same session or one side in the first session and the other in the next one.
How Often Should You Breastfeed Your Baby?
Every baby has different signs to show that he is hungry, so the mother should be cautious and be on the look-out for these signs and cues. The babies need feeding throughout the day as well as night or as and when they demand. Some babies have the habit to start putting things in the mouth or suck on to anything that they get. Now let us have a look and see how frequent the feeding should be as the baby starts growing.
1. Frequency In The First Week
In case the baby has a habit of sleeping a lot, then the baby should be awakened, so that he can be fed at a gap of three hours. This might sound too much for the baby, but it is required for him for proper weight gain and nutrition for strong and healthy bone development. This indicates the mother to feed the baby almost at twelve intervals throughout the day. The first month is also crucial as it is the initial time for the baby to get proper nutrition.
2. The Frequency From The Second Week To 2 Months
The baby needs to be fed in the second week till about two months as much as it is required in the first month. The frequency session will be about twelve again or the baby would be fed on demand. The feed on demand obliterates the option to rest much. Since all babies are different, their feeding patterns and time can vary, so will depend on the times they get up for a feed, the time they take to latch on, etc. Overall, the babies require to be fed almost at a gap of two or three hours.
3. The Frequency Between 2 Months And 6 Months
With passing time and the growth of the baby, the frequency of feeds starts becoming less in number, but they still need to be fed though not as much as it was before. The feeding sessions drop down to almost six from twelve.
4. The Frequency Between 6 Months And 12 Months
By the time, the baby becomes six months, he starts taking solids with the feed as well. This is the time when the babies are given mashed fruits, vegetables, purees, soups, cereals, etc. Even at this time, the babies need to be fed on demand, yet the frequency alters.
How To Know If Your Baby Is Getting Enough Breast Milk?
All mothers always have this query on their minds if the baby is being fed in the proper wayif he is getting the right quantity of milk. “How much is enough”? There are few indications and some of them are as below:
It is natural for the baby to lose weight in the initial weeks after birth, after which they start gaining weight gradually. If the baby shows these signs of losing weight and then gaining, it is an indication that the baby is getting enough milk and will be healthy with proper growth.
The stool frequency of the baby after being breastfed should ideally be one or more in a day. Though it happens, that they do skip it on alternates basis and that is considered normal. The color of the stool should be dark yellowish by the second week begins. The baby should urinate eight times or more throughout the day.
If the baby is getting enough or well-fed, then they are happy and lively, less cranky or moody after the feeding session is over. Cranky or fussy babies are an indicator that they have not been fed well, though there are many other reasons for the baby to cry than hunger.
The mother feels the firmness and heaviness in the breast due to milk accumulation, which after feeding the baby becomes light and soft, and it is a sign that the baby has taken enough from the milk, in case the milk is still left, it indicates that the baby has not taken enough.
Enough amount of milk can also be determined by the number of feeding sessions a baby takes. In the first six months, the baby must be fed on demand, but thereafter, the frequency should start decreasing. In the initial two months, the baby should have twelve feeding sessions in a day and with passing months and growth of the baby, it should drop down to six in all.
Breastfeeding Frequency By Age Chart
Feeding is important for both the mother and the baby. To make it more effective and simpler, given below is a chart for the breastfeeding frequency that is required as per the age of the baby.
Becoming a mother and taking care of the new-born baby is very unnerving at times, yet the advice offered by the elders and experienced people can be great as well as devastating at that time. Everybody has had a different experience and they all want to be good to the mother and the baby so nothing to get scared. In case they are giving a piece of advice to feed the baby less or more, it should not be taken too seriously. If the baby is healthy and active, and the frequency of the baby’s feeding sessions are in accordance to the ones mentioned above there is no cause of worry. In case of any more worries, a medical practitioner or a lactation expert should be consulted.