The frequency of breastfeeding will differ from baby to baby. There is no set schedule that applies to every baby in the world because the frequency of breastfeeding will depend on your baby’s needs.
What we will highlight in this section of the breastfeeding guide is simply a rough outline to guide you through the entire process.
1. Breastfeeding Frequency in the First 24 Hours After Birth
- Breastfeeding should start right after birth if possible, which is why doctors recommend skin-to-skin contact after birth because it allows the baby to seek your breast.
- The first amounts of colostrum babies receive are crucial to their digestive system because it acts as a laxative and also strengthens the immune system.
- In the first couple of days of breastfeeding, your body will be making more colostrum, after which it will transition to milk as your baby will be eating more and more.
2. Breastfeeding Frequency in the First Week After Birth
- In the first week, your baby will want to eat a lot. The feeding sessions will be as frequent as every 1 to 3 hours, which should add up to around 12 sessions.
- Even if the baby is sleeping, you may need to wake them up for their scheduled feed.
- The higher frequency of breastfeeding is crucial at this point, because the baby needs to gain weight in order to have a healthy bone development.
- It is also important for the mother that the baby feeds as much as possible because that will help with the supply of milk.
- Waking up the baby for their scheduled feed can be difficult, but you can try stroking or undressing them gently so they don’t abruptly wake from sleep.
3. Breastfeeding Frequency from the Second Week to 2 Months
- As the baby grows older, their bellies will also grow with them meaning they will be able to consume more milk in each feed.
- This is why the interval between the feeding session will be longer, going up to 4 to 5 hours.
- However, this is not a hard and fast rule that applies to all babies, you may notice your baby showing signs of hunger and it is ok to feed them on demand as well.
4. Breastfeeding Frequency Between 6 Months and 12 Months
- As the baby turns six months, they will start eating solid foods along with the breastfeeding.
- Solid foods such as mashed and pureed fruits and veggies, soup, etc., should be incorporated into baby’s diet at this point.
- When it comes to breastfeeding, baby should still be nursed on demand, but the frequency of breastfeeding sessions will drop down to 4 to 6.