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World Breastfeeding Week 2019: How Often Should You Breastfeed Your Baby

By Sreya Dutta

If you have a baby, then it's probable that you have lots of questions constantly about his/her requirements and all the necessities and how to satisfy him/her to the fullest, including breastfeeding. You might need to know how many times your baby needs to eat daily, and whether there is a strict breastfeeding schedule which you should follow.

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year across the world between August 1 to August 7 to promote and support breastfeeding and to improve the babies health around the world. This event also focuses on maternal health, poverty reduction, good nutrition, and food security.

We have received all the common queries that you might have and listed up all the important things below that you should know about breastfeeding your precious little one.

How Often You Should Breastfeed Your Baby

On an average, a breastfed newborn generally eats approximately in every 2-3 hours once throughout the clock. That's almost 8 to 12 times in a day in 24 hours. Newborn babies have a small stomach, so breast milk is digested easily, which means that you can and should breastfeed your baby quite often.

The Feeding Patterns Of Common Newborns

Some newborn babies wake and breastfeed in every 2 to 3 hours once like it's clockwork, but that is not always necessarily the case. Your baby might want to breastfeed a lot of times in short periods, and then he/she might fall asleep for a longer time.

Breastfeeding of this type is known as bunch or cluster feeding. If you're baby is too sleepy, especially during the early days, you have to wake him/her up to breastfeed. All these patterns are perfectly normal.

What Is The Best Breastfeeding Schedule For Your Baby?

The recommended way always to breastfeed your baby is of course on demand and any time they need it. Instead of a strict schedule, it is always best to breastfeed them flexibly whenever they appear hungry.

This will also provide them with a sense of security and comfort. On-demand breastfeeding also helps in the increase of your breast milk supply that will in turn help you meet your growing baby's complete nutritional needs. You can gradually start a routine once your baby starts getting older.

Knowing When Your Breastfed Baby Might Be Hungry

Your baby might not be able to let you know verbally that he/she is hungry, but he/she might give you hints of it in other ways. Your baby might be hungry or ready to eat when he/she is:

1. Alert, awake or active

2. Sucking fingers

3. Moving the lips

4. Sticking out the tongue

5. Making some hums or sounds

6. Pulling up the legs

7. Moving the head from one side to another

8. Rooting down

9. Putting the head onto your chest when you're holding him/her

10. Squirming around a bit

Your baby might show some of these signs or all because of hunger. You might not notice these signs or hunger cues in the beginning; but as the days pass by, you will start recognizing them much more easily.

Should You Wait Until Your Baby Cries Before Breastfeeding?

Try to breastfeed your baby before he/she starts crying. Crying is a bad and late sign of hunger, and also once your baby starts crying, it might be difficult for you to calm them down. Also, newborns might get tired or lose energy while crying, due to which they might not feed later and just sleep, which should be avoided.

How Long Should You Breastfeed Your Baby?

In the beginning, you should breastfeed your baby for as long as he/she wants to stay on your breast. Continue to do so until you know and notice the signs that your baby is satisfied. This will help you make sure that your baby gets enough breast milk at every feeding.

Also, longer breastfeeding will stimulate your milk production altogether and help you to increase the supply of your breast milk. In the beginning, try breastfeeding your baby for about 10-15 minutes on each of your breasts. Once your baby is older, he/she will be able to breastfeed faster.

Signs That Your Baby Had A Satisfactory Breastfeeding

1. They might just stop breastfeeding and remove themselves from your breast.

2. They might stop sucking, and your breasts might feel less full.

3. They might fall asleep, and your breasts might feel less full.

4. They might turn away from your breast.

5. They might appear content.

Waking Up Your Baby To Breastfeed

Sleepy babies might be a challenge. If your baby is too sleepy, you might have to wake them up to breastfeed them. During their newborn stage, you should wake up your baby and breastfeed them every 3½ hours. Once they are older, you can let them sleep longer between the feedings.

Your Baby Wanting To Breastfeed Often And Non-Stop Is Perfectly Normal

Sometimes, it might seem that your baby is hungry or wants to breastfeed often and all the time. But it's pretty normal and also an increased appetite might show the signs of growth spurt. During such a growth spurt, your baby might want to nurse more frequently than ever. Such a growth spurt might usually last for about 1-2 days.

Always Call The Doctor When Anything Is Wrong

If you ever feel that your baby is not getting sufficient breast milk or is not feeding well, please meet a pediatrician or a good health care provider. The doctor will make sure he/she is okay and is gaining weight steadily by checking on him/her properly. The doctor might also be able to answer all your queries and help you further.

Read more about: breastfeeding
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