How often should I breastfeed my baby? | A Month by Month Breakdown
Breastfeeding, it's a strange one, right? Milk may be on tap, but how do you know if baby is getting enough, if you can't see what they're getting? Well good old mother's intuition is a wonderful thing. Follow your gut for the most part, feeding on demand throughout the day and night. A happy and content baby, plenty of wet nappies and steady weight gain are sure signs they’re getting enough. But there are also some general guidelines to help reassure us too. Not that many new mums have the time to wade through all the information available. So we have put together a very simple, month by month breakdown that should hopefully help.
The first 6 weeks
The first 6 weeks of baby’s life are intense. You will likely be breastfeeding around the clock as you establish your supply. Allowing baby to feed on demand helps your body know exactly how much milk to produce to satisfy them. It’s completely normal, just roll with it. You’re doing a fantastic job! Oh and remember, it won’t be like this forever.
1 Month Old
Your feeding schedule will likely become a little less intense by around 6 weeks and you will by now, probably have learned to follow baby’s hunger cues, relieving you of some pressures. Your 1 month old will feed roughly every two to three hours now.
2 Months Old
By around 2 months old baby might have fallen into their own routine whilst still feeding on demand. You will still, more than likely, be feeding every two to three hours but at least you’ll be much more familiar with their schedule and can plan around it.
3 Months Old
Babies become a lot more efficient little feeders by around 3 months old, feeds can become much quick and baby tends to get much more milk during each session. If you’re one of the lucky ones, this may mean baby is sleeping for longer stretches during the night. If so, there’s no need to wake them. Enjoy the sleep. You’ll still be breastfeeding every two to three hours during the day.
You can double check baby is getting enough milk by checking for wet nappies. By 3 months old, baby should be giving four or five wet nappies per day.
4- 6 Months Old
Between 4-6 months old you may want to start introducing first tastes of pureed food. It’s important to remember that breastmilk will still be the main source of nutrition and baby will still typically want to breastfeed ever three to four hours. What’s important is that baby seems settled and content, your breasts feel soft to touch after each feed and baby continues to gain weight. Don’t let yourself get engorged by dropping feeds quickly.
If you have started pumping breastmilk you may be wondering how much baby needs per day? By general rule of thumb, baby needs 24 ounces per day (24 hours). As they may be in a good routine by now they might take this split into four or five feeds per day.
6 – 12 Months Old
You can start introducing slightly more substantial meals by around 6 months of age. Up until the age of 1, milk will still be the main source of nutrients a baby needs. Typically they will still take breastmilk every 4 to five hour. Many mums are starting to think about returning to work at this stage. If baby is getting expressed milk, they will still require 24 ounces per day until the age of 1.