Do I Need To Wake My Baby For Feeds
Newborns have tiny tummies and so need to feed frequently. For example, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine supplementation protocol reports that the average intakes of colostrum per feed by healthy, term breastfed is 2-10 mL on day 1, 5-15 mL on day 2, 15-30 mL on day 3 and 30-60 mL on day 4. Feeding frequently in the early days and weeks helps make sure you have a good milk supply.
Because breastmilk is easily digested, it is common for breastfed babies to feed 812 times in a 24-hour period. This usually means that your baby will breastfeed on average every 23 hours around the clock , with possibly one longer stretch between feeds somewhere in a 24-hour period. The length of time between feeds can vary greatly from baby to baby. The time between feeds is from the beginning of the last feed, not the end. Newborns also tend to have periods each day where they feed very frequently for a few hours . Often these cluster feeding periods are followed by a longer stretch of sleep.
In most cases, healthy, thriving newborns will wake of their own accord for feeds and so get all the milk they need. Feeding your baby when he is showing early feeding cues can help him to feed better: see Feeding cues article.
Feeding cues can be hard to pick in a sleepy baby so it is important to keep your baby close to you so you can learn.
There are many ways to tell if your baby is getting enough milk. See the article Low supply for further information.
How Many Breastfeeds Your Baby Will Need
Each child is different, but a young baby usually needs to feed 8 to 12 times in 24 hours. Your milk supply adjusts to your babys needs, so it helps to feed whenever your child is ready. You will know that youre providing enough milk if your baby:
- has 6 to 8 really wet cloth nappies or 4 to 5 heavy disposable nappies in 24 hours
- has soft bowel motions
- generally settles after most feeds
- has bright eyes and good skin tone
- is gaining weight appropriate to their age.
Some signs your baby is feeding well are:
- After some initial short frequent sucks to stimulate milk flow, your baby begins to swallow. Sucking becomes slower, deeper and more rhythmic with rest periods between each sucking burst. As the feed progresses the sucking bursts become shorter and the rest periods longer
- You can hear or see your baby swallowing.
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Should I Wake My Baby Up To Feed
In most cases, healthy, thriving newborns will wake up for feeds and get all the milk they need . But there might be reasons why a newborn might be more sleepy and therefore need to be woken up for feeds.
This includes medical reasons, such as jaundice, infection or a heart problem, or perhaps because the pain relief used during birth is still affecting them . If youre worried your baby might be sleeping too much and this is affecting their feeding, talk to your health visitor or call our Infant Feeding Support line on 0300 330 0700.
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How Long Should Each Breastfeed Session Be
It depends on the sucking strength of the baby. Some can suck more and faster than others. Infants with weak sucking strength need to be fed for a longer time. Preterm and low birth weight babies are, generally, slower than others.
The time you take to nurse your baby depends on a number of factors such as the:
- milk supply
- pace of milk flow
- position of your baby at your breast
- age of the baby older babies may take 5-10 minutes each side and newborns may take 10-20 minutes
- babys ability to latch if she latches well, your feeding and milk supply will be productive
Adult feeding schedule is not suitable for babies and could lead to poor weight gain . And this is why, babies need food in the middle of the night, unlike adults.
During the night, infants should not be left unfed for more than three hours . If your baby has low birth weight or is prematurely born, then you need to wake her up every two hours to feed.
If your baby wakes up during the night for a feed, make sure to feed her until you empty at least one breast, so that she draws nutrition from the hindmilk.
You might feel extremely sleepy while your baby takes her time to fill her tummy, but you need to let her do that.
Babies require regular feedings, day and night, for their growth and development. Therefore, keep an eye on the hunger signals they give, and act immediately.
How Can I Tell If My Baby Is Getting Enough Milk
Although we cant see how much breast milk a baby has taken from a breast, knowing how to spot active feeding, listening for swallows of milk, monitoring your babys dirty nappies, and weighing your baby regularly will all help confirm they are getting enough milk. For more information on gauging your babys milk intake see Is My Baby Getting Enough Milk?Breastfed Baby Poop and Understanding Your Babys Weight Chart.
- Listen for swallows. Is your baby feeding actively?
- Check dirty nappies. Are you seeing at least three dirty nappies with soft mustard coloured poop by day four or five?
- Weigh your baby. Check your babys weight regularly. If they are not gaining appropriate amounts of weight they may need help to get the milk they need.
The following video from Global Health Media discusses how to tell your baby is getting enough milk including how to tell your baby is drinking well at the breast .
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How Can My Baby Get A Good Latch For Breastfeeding
As newborn babies do not yet have full control of their heads, you will need to gently position your babys mouth near your nipple. Most midwives spend some time helping you attach, or latch, your baby to your breast correctly. This is because most problems that occur with breastfeeding are caused by the baby not positioning their mouth correctly on the breast.Source: MamaNatural.com
Can I Continue Breastfeeding After Introducing Solids
When your baby is showing an interest in food and sitting up unsupported, at around six months, hes ready for you to start introducing solid foods. However, this doesnt have to be the end of breastfeeding, as Cathy explains: Your babys stores of iron, built up during pregnancy, have been used by six months and he needs to start getting more, she says.
Introduce foods around this time, but remember breastfeeding will remain more important as a source of calories and nutrients until your baby is around eight to nine months old. Hell be eating a lot more food by that point, but you may still be giving breastfeeds four to five times a day, depending on your baby. By the time he gets to 12 months, you could be breastfeeding anywhere between two and six times a day. All babies are individuals and he could still be getting half his calories from breast milk.
And dont forget, your breast milk can also be added to your babys first solid foods, such as cereals and purees, so he can experience a familiar flavour at meals. If possible, use it freshly expressed and mix in just before serving, so the live components and nutrients are not destroyed.16
You may feel social pressure to stop at six months, but the longer you breastfeed or express, the more benefits there are for you both.
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Positioning Baby For Breastfeeding
Writing about how to position a baby correctly on the breast is a bit like writing instructions for how to knit it is much easier to be shown. Your midwife will help you and your baby get breastfeeding started. Every woman and baby develop their own breastfeeding style. There are several positions that can be used to help your baby latch on. Read more about breastfeeding positions. Your midwife will help you find the positions that work best for you and your baby.
When Does Breastfeeding Frequency Slow Down
The range of normal breastfeeding for babies aged one to six months is wide some only feed four times in 24 hours, while others have 13 feeds a day.3
After hes about one month old, your baby will begin taking bigger volumes of milk at a feed and may start to go longer between feeds, explains internationally renowned lactation consultant Cathy Garbin. His stomach is growing so he can take larger feeds, plus your mature milk keeps him fuller for longer.
Feeds can last anything from 12 minutes to nearer an hour there really is that much variability between babies!3 But if your baby is gaining weight and has a feeding pattern that fits into these ranges, you have no cause for concern.
Amazingly however, no matter how often your baby feeds, hell consume roughly the same quantity of milk per day at one month old as he will at six months, when you start introducing solid foods.4
Having said that, youll invariably get some days when he wants to feed a bit more or less, especially if hes not feeling well, and you should just go with it, says Cathy.
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What If My Baby Wakes Before It’s Time To Feed Her
You should not make your baby wait until two to three hours has passed if she is crying or actively sucking on her hands, or otherwise showing interest in breastfeeding. If your baby wants to breastfeed sooner than two hours, it’s always appropriate to breastfeed at that time, even if the last feeding just ended a short time ago. You don’t need to worry that the breast is “empty” since your breasts make milk continuously, there’s always more milk available for your baby.
How Often Should I Feed My Baby Through The Night
Parents with newborns can sometimes be surprised at how often they need feeding. Your new arrival has a tiny tummy that feels full very quickly, so for the first few weeks, newborns may need feeding every 2-3 hours. That means right through the night too, so its no wonder that new parents can feel a little sleep deprived.
Every baby is different, and its best to let them guide you on how much milk they need. Whether you choose to breastfeed, bottle feed or both, your little one will certainly let you know if theyre hungry.
Apart from crying, there are other signs that your child is ready for a feed. They may suck their fists, lick their lips, wriggle around or open their mouths looking for a feed.
The good news is that as they grow babies need fewer night feeds. By the time theyre around 4 months old, most babies will need 1-3 night feeds. This drops to 1-2 night feeds when they reach 6 months. Of course, this is provided that your little one is feeding well during the day.
Most babies wake themselves up through the night if theyre hungry. Its best to let them do this unless they have weight or other health issues that mean they need waking for a feed. If you have any concerns about how your baby is feeding, then talk to your GP or health visitor.
You may find that your baby may want to feed more often, or for longer, at night, especially if youre breastfeeding. This is because your body produces more prolactin, the hormone that makes milk, at night.
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Are There Risks To Extended Breastfeeding
In different parts of the world, the average weaning age is between 2 and 4 years old. Some children are breastfed until ages 6 or 7 in other cultures.
There arent any well-known risks of continuing breastfeeding longer than the first one or two years. There also isnt compelling evidence to suggest that longer duration of a feeding relationship makes weaning more difficult.
continuing breastfeeding with complementary foods until the childs second birthday or beyond. The AAP suggests continuing breastfeeding along with foods until the childs first birthday, or as long beyond that as mutually desired by mother and baby.
Some signs your baby may be ready to wean include:
- being over a year old
- getting more nutrition from solid foods
- drinking well from a cup
- gradually cutting down on nursing sessions unprompted
- resisting nursing sessions
That said, the decision over when to wean is personal. If youre ready to wean before your child reaches these milestones, dont worry. Youre doing an amazing job no matter how you continue to feed your baby.
Are Used Pumps Ok
It’s not a good idea to borrow or buy someone else’s used pump. This is because bacteria and viruses from the previous owner can get trapped inside the pump. They are potentially hazardous to your baby’s health, even with repeated sterilization and cleaning.
Hospital-grade pumps, though, are meant for more than one user. These pumps let women use their own accessory kits, which lowers the risk of contamination.
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Going Overboard: Waking Exhausted Mothers Who Are Recovering From Childbirth
Some maternity wards have a policy of waking mothers to breastfeed once every 3 hours. Because mothers are subjected to other interruptions as well by people performing medical tests, hospital administrative duties, and janitorial tasks this can leave mothers with very little time to sleep before they are awakened by yet another visitor.
Given the physical stress and sleeplessness associated with childbirthand the risks that sleeplessness pose for the development of postpartum depression is such a policy justified?
Ive seen no evidence for it, and its certainly not natural, not if by that you mean consistent with what humans do in the absence of hospital care.
For example, contemporary hunter-gathererswhose lifeways most closely resemble those of our ancestorsnurse their babies 2-4 times an hour . But even they recognize the needs of mothers who have just given birth.
The common pattern in hunter-gatherer societies is to let mothers to recuperate for the first 24 hours. If the baby is hungry and the mother is asleep, somebody else nurses the baby.
Are there lessons here for us? I think so.
Yes, early initiation of breastfeeding is important for success. Yes, mothers need to nurse frequently to stimulate production of mature milk, and ensure adequate milk supply.
But I can find no evidence that families suffer when exhausted mothers are allowed at least one 4-hour stretch of postpartum recovery sleep.