How often must one feed new born babies?

Dipika - posted on 05/18/2010 ( 72 moms have responded )

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Is it on demand that one should feed or is every 2 hourly feed recommended

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Jennifer - posted on 05/19/2010

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on demand, but at least 10-12 times per day for the first few weeks, then it very gradually decreases from there.

At La Leche League, we say watch the baby not the clock. so do watch for early hunger cues (mouthing movements, squirming, fist in mouth, etc.) Crying is a very late, last resort hunger cue. we give the 10-12 times per 24 hours or every 2 hours guidelines as a minimum for a very young newborn. But in reality, the often ask (and need) to nurse more frequently than that. Some babies may have ONE longer stretch of about 4-5 hours per day where they will sleep deeply and not ask to nurse. This is ok once per 24 hours as long as baby is waking up on their own to ask to nurse the rest of the time, is alert during these times, and is gaining weight ok.

after the meconium has passed, the baby should have 6-7 good and wet diapers and 3 stools (as big as a US $0.25) per day. Good diapers are a good indication that the baby is nursing frequently enough and taking in enough while at the breast.

Heather - posted on 05/18/2010

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I nursed my daughter on demand. Which ended up being every hour or so, sometimes more!

Chantelle - posted on 05/27/2010

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as often as the baby wants to be fed, granted this may be every half hour to every couple of hours, but new born babys only instinct is survival, and when it feels hungry it needs to be fed to ease fears that it may have been abandoned. control feeding is NEVER a good idea, put it into perspective...a baby waiting 4-6 hours is almost like us waiting 1 - 2 days for food. You need to remember that inside the womb the baby was fed nutrients 24-7 so to come out into the world and suddenly realise that there is no constant food supply...it's a huge shock.


but this is only my oppinion of course

Shelley - posted on 05/18/2010

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demand is fine but make sure you are fitting between 8-12 feeds every 24 hours some little babies don't ask to be fed and can loose weight so make sure they are getting enough

Cinda - posted on 05/18/2010

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As often as the new born asks for it!!
SOME feel that they need to be fed on a 'schedule' (like every 3 hours) & that you should wake them to feed them. I personally disagree with waking a sleeping baby to feed them. If they get hungry, they'll wake & let you know.
If they miss a feeding b/c they are asleep, that just gives you the opportunity to pump & freeze some milk to start building up a frozen supply for times that you may need to be away from your baby in the future & leave them with a sitter or day care if you have to return to work.

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Katrina - posted on 05/29/2010

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Always on demand. Babies know when they are hungry or thirsty. Some days they'll need more, they're perhaps going through a growth spurt or it's a hot day and they're thirsty for instance. Other days they need less. A breastdfed baby can never over eat.

Layla - posted on 05/28/2010

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On demand, just as you eat when you are hungry. You don't wait for the clock to tell you what time to eat. But you may notice that it is about every 2 hours that your baby wants to eat - sometimes sooner, sometimes later.
Just watch your baby's cues - fist in mouth, rooting, etc
It's so nice being in tune with your baby and being aware of their communication - even at such an early age.

Rose - posted on 05/28/2010

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I fed all 3 of mine on demand, each child uses milk differently, but no more then 4 hours apart is rule of thumb.

Rachel - posted on 05/28/2010

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Whenever they are hungry! I don't look at the clock to determine if I am hungry or not. I check myself. Babies know w hen they are hungry - they will tell you - so feed them then!!

Dahlia - posted on 05/27/2010

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Yes as much as your baby need. No time frame and the more he/she consume the better it is. congrat and enjoy your baby...

Roxanne - posted on 05/27/2010

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I did on demand at first but after a couple of weeks, that drove me crazy. He would feed for 45 min every hr. So I had 15 min to do what I needed to do. So for me that didn't work, I then moved it to every 2hrs, and decreased the time he'd nurse that way I could get a little more than an hr to do something.

ELIZABETH - posted on 05/27/2010

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on demand as long as they want when they want. sometimes it seems u are in the rocking chair all day with ur boob out feeding and thats just what u do its so worth it.

Krystle - posted on 05/27/2010

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Like everyone else said, feed on demand! However, I did this with my son, and ended up feeding him every 3 hours, but knowing what I know now, I could have had a happier baby if I offered him a breast earlier then waiting for him to be starving.

Lisa - posted on 05/27/2010

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I am breastfeeding my 2nd child and do it on demad...its much easier that way instead of waking them evry2 hours especially if they are asleep and settled.

Kristina - posted on 05/27/2010

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Good for You! If a baby wakes and feeds on demand that is perfection! Especially with adequate weight gain! But sleepy babies to exist, and all breastfed babies need 8-12 feeds in 24 hours per the AAP! and the LaLeche League! This site is to support breastfeeding moms but all of our situations are unique to ourselves! And that is why feeding standards per the AAP exist--for all babies!

Melissa - posted on 05/27/2010

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I did on demand, and I was never worried about him eating enough, and he never got overweight, and grew very well.

Kristina - posted on 05/27/2010

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The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breastfed babies be fed 8-12 times in 24 hours--if a baby is on the sleepy side of normal, he/she needs to be offered the breast every 2-3 hours at least during the hours of 6am-11pm or whatever normal waking hours for Mom are.

Angela - posted on 05/27/2010

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O yes, another way to think of feeding on demand, especially with a new baby, is that babies, like us, dont link to just eat one meal. We'll have starters, mains, desert, followed by maybe coffee and a cheese board and don't forget that after dinner mint! And don't forget the snacks between meals! Our family used to love joking about Annebella's feeding habits. She was definitely a 5 course meal kind of girl. :P But, babies breastfeed for 50% nutrition and 50% comfort, security and love. So I never let my baby cry - they need that second 50% to be healthy both physically and mentally.

Angela - posted on 05/27/2010

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On demand! Definitely! Wear your baby. If you use a wrap you can wrap your baby to you to breastfeed and then still have your hands free, if you are so inclined.

Sarah - posted on 05/26/2010

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Our midwife told us to feed our daughter every 2 hours (from when she started eating) while she was awake and every 4 hours when she was asleep (even if it meant wakiner her up.) We were to do this forthe first few weeks. After that I decided to do on demand. For me, it just makes more sense. I would rather not listen to her cry as I tried to put her body on a schedule that it isn't ready for.

Cathy-lee - posted on 05/26/2010

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I would wake my boy every three hours. We did this in hope of him sleeping through the night and it took a few weeks and a lot of cluster in the evenings and by the time he was 4 weeks we were getting 5-6 hrs over night and it has just got better from there. He now does at least 9hrs and the most has been 11. He is only 8 weeks so I have my fingers crossed that it continues.
Good luck and enjoy.

[deleted account]

Definitely on demand, which can equate to roughly every 1.5 to 2 hours in the beginning, depending on your baby, and at about 3 months will naturally extend to about every 2 to 3 hours, again depending on your baby. I'm still breastfeeding at 1 year, and found that by nursing him when he was hungry, my milk supply became well established, my baby thrived, and was happy and contented, and by feeding him frequently in the day, he eventually (between 3 and 4 months) started sleeping through the night from 7pm to 6am without needing/wanting a feed.
Remember, their tummies are tiny and bm is digested very quickly, so they need milk frequently.
Good luck, and enjoy - although it sounds cliche, this time really does fly by, and soon you'll find yourself missing the feeds!!

Tanya - posted on 05/25/2010

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Feed them on demand. They would ask for it every hour or two, and its fine if they do.

Anita - posted on 05/25/2010

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On demand is the best way to establish a great bond, great milk supply and a successful breastfeeding routine. I have always breastfed on demand and it worked for all three of my children.

Lindsay - posted on 05/25/2010

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on demand! my son was jaundiced so i was supposed to wake him up at night every 2 hours, even if he didn't wake himself, but during the day definitely do it on demand! if they are hungry an hour and a half later, don't make them wait thirty minutes! it is very important to establish breastfeeding, by feeding on demand!

Amy - posted on 05/25/2010

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I really like the fact that some people pointed out a minimum number of feedings. I know everyone says on demand and don't worry about waking your baby, but that doesn't work for ALL babies. Some babies will sleep too much and they actually won't wake up to be fed. I'm sure it's only a small percentage, but my son was one of these babies. He had a poor latch and and a few other issues, but he would sleep for hours and hours without eating. I had always heard the "on demand" rule and didn't know there was a minimum number of feedings. I had been told that my son would wake when he was hungry, but after four days of this, he was losing a lot of weight and my milk production was suffering. Trust your instincts. You'll know if it doesn't seem right. There's a big difference between an occasional four hour nap and frequent six hour naps and a lack of interest in eating. I paid for a very expensive lactation consultant who told me how to fix this problem; I would encourage him to latch on and try to eat AT LEAST every two hours, but I would do more whenever he showed interest. After a little while, his latch improved and he realized how much he liked eating. At that point, I hoped for the occasional four hour nap!

Kristin - posted on 05/24/2010

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I always did on demand. They know when they are hungry and when they aren't. I will say that over night, even though I wanted the sleep, for the first few weeks, I would wake mine after 5 hours for a feed. After that, I just left them to sleep until they were hungry again.

Alison - posted on 05/24/2010

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I fed and still feed my son on demand (since he knows when he's hungry), I find its the best. When he got older though (he's now 8.5 months) I pretty much knew what his own schedule was/is. Also too, when I first was learning how to nurse my son, my Mom said to me, he'll wake up when he's hungry. I did worry about him sleeping longer than four hours without eating, once I took my Mom's advice I was more at ease about letting him sleep till he was hungry. Now since he's 8.5 months old, he sleeps thru the night and wakes up when he's hungry.

Erin - posted on 05/24/2010

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I felt like thats all i did when i had my son! lol it definately is on demand otherwise you will have a very unsettled baby. I started my son on more of a routine when he hit about 4 weeks.

Jayme-Lee - posted on 05/23/2010

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Your baby is the only one that knows when he/she is hungry. we can only go off their cues. when i had my little boy, he lost a little too much weight while in hospital. they had me feeding him every 3 hours. i personally don't agree with putting a timeframe to feeding.

Laura - posted on 05/23/2010

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Newborns should be fed on demand, but don't let a very young baby (less than 6 weeks old) go longer than 4 hours between feedings. Sometimes newborns will sleep through feedings and if this goes on for too long, can cause a failure to proprerly gain weight. This could also prevent you from establishing a good milk supply. So, yes feed your newborn whenever he or she seems hungry or fusses, even if it is every hour (which actually happens sometimes during growth spurts!!), but don't let your baby go too long between feedings. Good luck!!

Rebecca - posted on 05/23/2010

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I fed on demand that is what I was told by the docs and nurses. When my 3 kids were first born they wanted every hour for the first month (except at night), every 2 hours the second month and by the third it was every 3-4 hours. It was hard at first and they did get enough milk (they all gained about 5lbs within the 1st month and were off the charts).

Mary - posted on 05/23/2010

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13.1 minutes is the average amt. of time btw. feedings...AVERAGE being the operative word!!!

Elysia - posted on 05/23/2010

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I demand fed my son, it was roughly every 3hrs, he would nurse more often when having growth spurts, this is perfectly natural and the best thing u can do as it increases your supply. If your formula feeding, i would recomend a schedule as it takes 4hrs for a baby to digest formula but only 2hrs for them to digest breastmilk.

Mary - posted on 05/23/2010

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I breastfed all five of mine on demand. Breast milk is so perfectly suited for the human baby that it is digested more easily and quickly than formula. Even at that, one must consider the metabolic variations among babies. I had every four hour feeders and every 2 hour feeders among my five. Even bottle fed infants vary in their individual hunger patterns. Imagine if you were hungry earlier than usual and someone said, "no, you have to wait!" Who knows how much energy a baby expended on a particular day, just growing! How do we know that it "shouldn't" be hungry at some particular moment?

Cathlene - posted on 05/23/2010

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I have feed on demand! My son eats when ever he wants to and has actually put his self on his own schedule. I am still breast feeding and now he takes food and a little juice. Schedules are good and if your baby is crying hungrey then feed him or her.

Nicole - posted on 05/23/2010

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Feed him/her on demand. Whenever that baby cries, baby is most likely hungry unless there is some reason for discomfort: soiled diaper, too hot/cold, etc.

Tracy - posted on 05/23/2010

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I found demand feeding worked for me and my two daughters. I agree with Maggie, as much and for as many times as baby wants, it helps with your milk production, and getting to know your little bundle. Yes sometimes you feel like all you do is feed and then feed some more constantly, but these are short sputs that last a day or so then things settle down for a while. It is normal and don't stress about it. Enjoy being a mum it is the best thing ever. xx

Beth - posted on 05/22/2010

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my baby was slightly jaundice when he was born so i fed him every two/ three hours untill it cleared up, after that i fed him on demand.

Theresa - posted on 05/22/2010

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I feed my son every 2 to 3 hours for the first month and then gradually increased the waiting time inbetween periods by 1/4 hour each time as months progressed. By six months he was in a routine of having a bottle every 4 hours or so. I will say that for night feeding. I feed him at 7pmish then again at 11pmish and he would sleep 8 hours through the night from about 2 months and on.

Maricelis - posted on 05/22/2010

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when he was first born i was told to feed him every 2-3 hours and not let more then 4 hrs go by but then again my baby was 6 pounds so they wanted to make sure his sugar levels were good.
but once he was showing that he was keeping his levels regular and gaining weight it was ok to go to on demand feeding. He is now 8 months old and doing great.
After a few days most newborns start to show signs of when they are hungry and want to eat...i think it's just that it takes them a few days to understand this whole demanding to eat thing especially since when they were in our tummies they constantly feed!

Virginie - posted on 05/22/2010

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Congratulations! On demand. Sometimes your baby will want to eat every two, three hours, or every hour, depending on growth spurts. I was told not to let them go more than 4 hours during the day and 6 hours during the night, even if they don't ask to nurse. Check with your pediatrician on that one though. If you're experiencing difficulty with nursing, talk to your pediatrician, a lactation consultant, or seek help from a local la leche league.Breastfeeding is a natural thing to do, but sometimes it has a learning curve.

Cynthia - posted on 05/22/2010

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I fed on demand - sometimes every hour, sometimes every 2-2.5 hrs, it just depended on him. And I didn't wake him up to feed either. I believe that teaches them to eat only when they are hungry and not just because someone else thinks it's time. As a FTM my family had a huge issue w/ me not waking him up, but hunger is just instinct. I figured if he was hungry he'd wake up and let me know - and he did! I never tried to put my son on a schedule - after time, he just adapted his own and I worked around that.

[deleted account]

You failed to tell us if you breast feed.
If you are able to breast feed you should feed when ever your baby is hungry, that can be as often as every hour, it all depends on your milk supply. You should also make sure your baby has enough wet diapers so you know she is actually getting enough milk.
If you have to bottle feed then you need to feed every 3 hours.

When a baby ends up for any reason in the hospital they keep the child on a very strict 3 hour schedule. Not only write they down how much milk the baby actually drinks but they also weigh the wet/dirty diapers to make sure the baby is getting enough milk.

Sara - posted on 05/22/2010

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I subscribe to the on demand. You'll work into some sort of schedule later. Remember that your baby has been used to getting food 24/7 while inside you. He doesn't understand that now that he's out, he has to wait. You cannot spoil a baby this young by giving him what he wants when he wants it. You'll work into what's best for you and your baby. Good luck!

Autumn - posted on 05/21/2010

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On demand, which was about every 1.5 to 2 hours & I didn't wake to feed. You'll find what works for you both, good luck!!

April - posted on 05/21/2010

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on demand, definitely. the reason? nursing on demand helps your body make just enough milk for your baby. your baby's demand will determine your supply.

Dorene - posted on 05/21/2010

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It is on demand. That's how I did it. There is no set schedule on breastfeeding. The more he/she gets .. the better. It is the best thing to give a child.

Charlie - posted on 05/21/2010

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but always offer the second breast to your baby even if they don want it.

every baby differs its just what suits you and your child

Charlie - posted on 05/21/2010

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my son is 5 months old now and he still feeds on demand which can vary from 1hour to 4hours. i dont believe in having a strict routine for my baby, i believe that if he is hungry he will eat and if he is tired he will sleep. this works fine for me.



breastmilk is easily digested so your baby will get hungry quicker than a formula fed baby. if you want a routine for your baby rather than feeding on damand i would advise you to feed every 3 hours.

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