Breastfeeding Basics

Breast milk is the best baby food for your newborns because it is full of healthy nutrition. Breast milk provides all the nutrients that a baby needs. So it is important to make sure that your baby receives enough breast milk.

How Often and How Long Should You Breastfeed?

Newborn infants should feed on cue in every 2 to 3 hours. They will usually breastfeed for about 10 to 15 minutes per breast at each feeding until they are satisfied. As the baby gets older, the baby will learn to feed more efficiently. Hence the feeding time will be shorter.

When a baby is ready to feed, they may show the following signs:

  • increased fussiness or agitation
  • tongue or lip movements
  • fists in mouth
  • open his mouth when the skin around his mouth, cheek or lips is touch
  • crying (late sign)

During the first 4 weeks, a newborn infant should be breastfed at least every 4 hours. If the infant is sleeping, he should be awakened to feed.

How Much is Enough

Counting the number of diapers produced by a newborn infant is one way of knowing if he is getting enough breast milk. A newborn baby should have 6 to 8 wet diapers after the first week of life.

Each breastfeeding session should last about 10 to 15 minute. The length of time spent at the breast is a good indicator that your baby is receiving enough breast milk. After feeding, breasts should feel softer.

Another way of checking if the newborn infant is receiving enough breast milk is by monitoring the weight gain of your infant. To ensure adequate weight gain, be sure to have your baby weighted properly after the first week.

Age Number of Feeds Stools Wet Diapers
1 to 2 Days About 8 to 12 times per day . The number of feed will incease each day . Dark green or balck meconium. 1 to 3 wet diapers.
3 to 4 Days 8 to 12 times per day

Every 2 to 3 hours

Day 3 stool may still be black.
Day 4 stoll will be lighter in color.
3 to 4 soaked diapers.
5 to 6 Days 8 to 12 times per day About 2 to 3 stools per day. Stool will be yellowish or seedy in color and texture. 6 or more heavy soaked diapers.
7 Days to 1 Month 8 to 12 times per day About 3 to 5 stools per day. 6 or more heavy soaked diapers.
1 to 4 Months 6 to 8 times per day or every 3 to 4 hours. They may begin to sleep through the night without feeding. 3 to 5 stools per day. Stool frequency varies between babies 6 or more heavy soaked diapers.

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