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Newborn Feeding Schedule

Ideal Breastfeeding Schedule

When breastfeeding your baby, it is difficult to tell how much your baby is actually getting because you can't see or measure the amount of milk she is drinking. It is different from formula feeding in this regard.
Generally, a breastfed baby will nurse every three hours, except in the evening, when they nurse more frequently to stock up for the night (known as "cluster feeding"). It will take some getting used to, but eventually, you will get a feel for how much your baby needs.
What is the ideal breastfeeding schedule for an infant? The answer is to feed when your baby is hungry. This is known as demand feeding. Feeding on demand means that feeding is started based on hunger cues from the infant and stopped when the infant is satisfied.
A demand feeding schedule allows your baby to control the frequency and duration of feeding. It also allows for thorough emptying of the breast, including the important hindmilk, which is high in fat and promotes rapid infant growth.

How Often Should I Breastfeed?

The actual frequency of feeding will vary from baby to baby. In the first two weeks, the average frequency of breastfeeding is 8 to 12 times a day; it decreases to 7 to 9 times a day by four weeks of age, as everyone's skills improve and more milk is transferred with each feeding.
How long should each breastfeeding session take? The answer to this question depends in part on how efficient the process is. For the first month, each feeding may take 10 to 15 minutes -- although with getting comfortable and getting your baby latched on, it could take up to 45 minutes in the beginning. As everyone gets used to the process, breastfeeding times can decrease to around 8 to 10 minutes per feeding.
There are a few easy ways to tell that your baby is getting enough milk. You are doing just fine if your baby:
  • Latches well and can actively feed for more than 10 minutes before losing interest or falling asleep
  • Produces at least six to eight wet diapers per day
  • Produces at least three to five dirty diapers per day
  • Gains weight at a good rate
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