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FAQs around breastfeeding

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Here's some good info on breastfeeding.

How often should I breastfeed my baby?

As often as he/she wants to eat! Generally, 8-12 times per day is average. Don't compare yourself to someone who formula feeds, as they may feed less. Your baby will let you know when he or she is hungry, and if they do, feed them! Breast milk disgest much easier than formula, therefore it goes through them faster. This is why breastfed babies usually require more milk than formula fed babies. If you can breastfeed, do! As it provides far more nutrients than formula.

After the first month or two, your baby will feed less (usually 7-9 times a day). 1 1/2 to 3 hours is how often most babies will want to feed. As they get older, they'll feed less often and may adapt a more reliable schedule. Some might feed every 90 minutes, whereas other may feed every 2 to 3 hours. Do not let your newborn go more than 4 hours without feeding.

Are feeding intervals counted from when my baby starts or stops nursing?

The clock should start from the time your baby starts feeding, not stops. If your first feeding started at 8 am and ended at 8:20 am, then the next feeding started at 10 am and ends at 10:15 am, you would be feeding every two hours. 

How do I know when my baby is hungry?

Some obvious signs to tell when your baby is hungry are as follows:

  • They move their head from side to side (this is called rooting).
  • They keep opening their mouth and/or sticking their tongue out.
  • They may place their hands and fists near or on their mouth.
  • They may pucker their lips in anticipation you're going to feed them.
  • Snuggling up against your chest or breasts.

How do I know when my baby is full?

Your baby will slow down and become uninterested in sucking. He/she may turn away from your breast. Watching for these signs, as you don't want the to choke on the milk. If they do start to chock, hold them upright. They recover very quickly, so don't panic.

How long does it take to nurse?

It really depends on both you and your baby. 

  • How fast your milk comes out.
  • How fast your baby sucks on your breast.
  • Your let-down reflex (this is what causes milk to flow from the nipple)
  • How your baby is positioned on your breast.
  • Some babies take time to latch on, while others latch on immediately.
  • How tired your baby is, or if he or she is distracted.

Every mom and baby are different, and every feeding time may differ. There are many factors. Again, feed your baby until they become uninterested. Generally, each nursing session may last 5-20 minutes per breast.

How often should I alternate breasts?

One breast may have more milk than the other. When breasts become engorged, they can become painful. Try to feed your baby with the fuller breast, and keep the milk supply in each breast equal. You'll need to feel them to see which one has more/less. You may also want to pump and save the milk in bottles if you find yourself having more milk than your baby wants. Usually, 5 minutes per breast when feeding is average. Some need 10 or 15 minutes on each side. Again, you'll just need to gauge it upon how they feel. You may find yourself emptying both breasts while nursing. It all depends on supply and demand.

How often should I burp my baby?

If your baby spits up frequently, then it's a good idea to burp them more often. Generally, burp them after they have fed off each breast. If you don't, they will most likely spit up or get a stomach ache. 

How do I know my baby is eating enough?

Here are some good indicators:

  • Your baby seems satisfied after eating, and is quiet.
  • Has regular bowel movements (some babies poop after every feeding!).
  • Sleeps well and seems content.
  • Is alert when awake.
  • Is gaining weight.

Here some indicators your baby is not eating enough:

  • Does not appear satisfied after eating. 
  • Seems hungry often.
  • Is fussy or cries a lot
  • Is not gaining weight
  • Not making enough soiled diapers 

If you're concerned your baby is not eating enough, then call your doctor. You may need to supplement with formula, or perhaps he/she just isn't latching on correctly. 

My baby wants to comfort nurse, is this ok?

Yes, however don't let it become a problem as your child gets older. If they are comfort nursing, try using a passifier instead. 

My baby seems hungrier than normal, is this ok?

Your baby may be going through what's called a "growth spurt". This is when they grow faster than usual, and may happen at any time. Most commonly, growth spurts occur around:

  • 7 to 14 days old
  • 2 months
  • 4 months 
  • 6 months

During this time, you'll find yourself feeding your baby more frequently. Don't be alarmed, as this is normal.


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