How often should my 3 month old nurse?

Hannah - posted on 05/30/2009 ( 29 moms have responded )

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So, Here's the thing my 3 month old nurses every 2 hours and I have been told by alot of people that this is because I don't have enough fat in my milk and that she shouldn't be nursing that often. What do you guys think? I need help figuring out how often my 3 month old should nurse.

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MW - posted on 03/25/2013

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I am always concerned when mothers are looking to books, and medical advice for how to feed an care for baby?! There is some good research available yes, but the feeding and nurturing relationship between parent and child is more "animal" than "medical"!
We are animals, afterall! and the feeding/care relationship with a baby is based on instincts.
On-demand is the only way to determine your child is getting what it needs/wants! You don't see (pardon if this is unkind) mamma cow, or mare or anything other mammal checking her watch before allowing baby acess to her to feed. Perhaps as mothers we are too worried about meeting demands from the outside world sometimes, rather than saying 'stop! I am a mother and my child comes first'.
Nurture the natural relationship, as the body and brain was designed to follow- too often mother - baby relationships (even in birthing, etc) are 'medicalized' and mums aren't given the confidence and support from others needed to follow thier instincts, and figure out the baby's needs on their own... Good luck out there mums! You're doin great! Experiment with cues until you figure them out, be attentive, and rest. Baby needs YOU not a calendar/clock or study to tell you what to do...

Vanessa - posted on 06/02/2009

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Quoting Emily:

I haven't read the rest of the responses, but that's totally normal. A formula fed baby will go much longer between feedings because it takes so long for it to digest that it just sits in baby's system for longer. Breastmilk on the other hand is the perfect infant food and is easily digested and goes through baby's system much faster. According to La Leche League, even a stomach completely full of breastmilk will be completely digested within 90minutes, regardless of fat content.

My kids always preferred to nurse every 60-75 minutes, but only nurse 5-7 minutes at a time, and only from one side per feeding.

If you notice, most health professionals are now recommending that even adults eat many small meals each day, instead of 3 large meals... so really your baby is just doing what's best for her. :)



excellent advise Emily!

Megan - posted on 05/31/2009

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unless you feel there is something wrong... dont be concerned with what people say about how often a 3 month old should nurse... some babies nurse every hour, every 2 hours, or way more! The bottom line is that as long as your baby is gaining adequate weight and has several healthy clear wet diapers a day than you are successfully breastfeeding! Some people tend to get in the mindset of "if this is how my babies did it- yours should too!" Make sure you are eating and drinking a healthy amount and your baby is otherwise content and relax. feeding every 2 hours is not a bad thing- If it is a problem for YOU though... talk to a lactation consultant.

Emily - posted on 06/02/2009

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I haven't read the rest of the responses, but that's totally normal. A formula fed baby will go much longer between feedings because it takes so long for it to digest that it just sits in baby's system for longer. Breastmilk on the other hand is the perfect infant food and is easily digested and goes through baby's system much faster. According to La Leche League, even a stomach completely full of breastmilk will be completely digested within 90minutes, regardless of fat content.

My kids always preferred to nurse every 60-75 minutes, but only nurse 5-7 minutes at a time, and only from one side per feeding.

If you notice, most health professionals are now recommending that even adults eat many small meals each day, instead of 3 large meals... so really your baby is just doing what's best for her. :)

Emily - posted on 06/02/2009

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Quoting Holly:

I would like to add, I don't understand why there is such controversy over Babywise~ if a baby is failing to thrive, wouldn't Mom think "hmm....there may be a problem" BEFORE it becomes an issue? I mean, if their babies are actually hungry, don't they cry? I don't get it. From experience, I have 3 kids- only my last two were Babywise babies and my oldest daughter actually was the thinnest and most cranky. I think b/c I was feeding her so often and so erratically my body didn't have enough time to properly build milk. I dunno. I'm not saying Babywise is for everybody, but I could not handle having anymore kids if I had to nurse every 1 1/2-2 hours!


 



Yes, babies do cry when they are hungry... but as a last resort. Babies have many other hunger signals before crying. Unfortunately, Babywise tends to teach parents to ignore their infants signals and trust a concocted schedule instead. Then, when a baby truely is hungry after *only* two hours, and starts screaming for food, mom assumes they can't possibly be hungry so soon, and forces them to wait until the schedule says it's time to eat.



I would like to point out that I have some personal experience with this. Schedule feeding my first daughter caused insufficient weight gain (she was 6lbs13oz at birth and only 9lbs4oz at 4 months), as well as causing my fertility to return much earlier than it should have, which then forced us to wean my daughter at 4 1/2 months when my milk dried up due to pregnancy. Nursing on demand kept my fertility away a bit longer (still not forever), and helped #2 and #3 with healthy weight gains, and also allowed me to nurse #2 through my pregnancy with #3 (in spite of a drop in milk supply) and tandem nurse for 13 months. Now my #3 is 17 months and I am 5 1/2 months pregnant with twins, and still nurse my daughter on demand. There isn't much milk for her anymore, but I'm so grateful we still have that wonderful breastfeeding relationship, and grateful that she will be able to get an extra immunity boost after our twins are born and my milk comes back in.



As for your body not having enough time to "properly" build milk... I don't believe that's true. Your body is smart and will figure out how to make the right milk for your baby. If you are concerned with a foremilk/hindmilk imbalence, or are having trouble figuring out if your baby got a "full feed" because they're nursing so frequently, or feeling frustrated with switching back and forth so often, one thing you can do is only nurse from one side for 2-3 hours, then switch to the other side for another 2-3 hours. This will help them get as much hindmilk from one side as they can before switching. If you have severe oversupply issues, you can extend the time on each side to 3-4 hours or more before switching. I also found this was much easier for me to keep track of which side they were supposed to be on. 

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[deleted account]

I would like to add, I don't understand why there is such controversy over Babywise~ if a baby is failing to thrive, wouldn't Mom think "hmm....there may be a problem" BEFORE it becomes an issue? I mean, if their babies are actually hungry, don't they cry? I don't get it. From experience, I have 3 kids- only my last two were Babywise babies and my oldest daughter actually was the thinnest and most cranky. I think b/c I was feeding her so often and so erratically my body didn't have enough time to properly build milk. I dunno. I'm not saying Babywise is for everybody, but I could not handle having anymore kids if I had to nurse every 1 1/2-2 hours!

[deleted account]

Even though it is normal for a 3 month old to nurse every 2 hours, it is very hard on Mom! It is also normal for a 3 month old to go longer too! One bit of advice if you want to try to stretch it to 3 hours~ try not to nurse baby to sleep. It is very important for baby to nurse when he wakes up, not when going to sleep. I also recommend the book "Babywise" to see how often a 3 month old should nurse, but if you just follow that one little bit, they usually set their own schedule. Good luck!

Jessica - posted on 06/01/2009

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You know I had a friend say that very same thing to me. She said that I wasn't purducing enough milk and that it is gradually decreasing.

Charlotte - posted on 06/01/2009

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Just wanted to say that the Baby Wise books are highly cortroversial since they have been linked to babys becoming dehyrated and even cases of Failure to Thrive. Check out this link for more info: http://www.ezzo.info/

Carmin - posted on 06/01/2009

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ok hannah i nursed my two year old for 8 months and on 4 months with this child. I have had the same thing and it is frustrating. the only thing that helped me gain my sanity is the book Baby Wise you can find it at babys r us and it will tell you how often a 3 month old should nurse. what is happening is that she is snack feeding it is not that you dont have enough fat it is that she isnt getting it try to hold her off for four hours one day you might want to start with 3 hours to 3 and a half after a feeding you keep her awake for about a hour then put her down she should sleep till the next feeding. it will help you and her get a little more rest and more ease to the brest feeding thing. After i started on that schdule i knew exactly what was worng with her wither she was hungry wet tired or just wants to cuddle by what the clock told me. I works get the book.

Vanessa - posted on 06/01/2009

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keep following your Bub's lead.....this is totally normal.

the people who told you that rubbish obvioulsy haven't the faintest clue about breastfeeding.....be very careful of who you accept breastfeeding advise off in a culture where, sadly, artifiical feeding has become the norm.

both my babies have been at my breast every 1 to 2 hours.....they know what they need. trust your baby and trust your boobs!

Laura - posted on 06/01/2009

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ignore all the so called helpful advice whats right for one baby isnt necessary al right for another.your lucky when my daughter was that age she was feeding every 30 mins or so shes now 3 and a very big girl {wears clothes for 5/6 year old and is very healthy! go with the flow relax and enjoy this special mum and baby time!

Becky - posted on 05/31/2009

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my boy still nurses every two hours, sometimes more, sometimes a little less- but not much. I honestly don't pay much mind to how often and how much anymore. If hes hungry, I feed him. Gains weight and poops and pees.. Thats all that matters! just enjoy the time with your baby!!! :)

Ariane - posted on 05/31/2009

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mine did the same - every two hours. now it's every four hours. perfectly fine what you are doing now! some people just give out the wrong info about breastfeeding which puts a lot of people off - how sad :( you are doing a great job!

Carolyn - posted on 05/31/2009

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I was having the same problem I went to breast feeding clinic called the Newman clinic. I was told to try feeding two feedings on the same breast to increase the hind milk. I did this for a long time and it spread the feedings out to 3 hrs.

[deleted account]

My 3 month old nurses every 2 hours as well, and I got AAAALLLLL kinds of helpful "advice" about that. As long as she's growing and her diaper output is ok, just ignore them and follow your instincts.

Sherry - posted on 05/30/2009

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My 3 1/2 month old is nursing every 3-4 hours. He only started these longer stretches about 2-3 weeks ago. Every once in a while he will go a stretch of 5 hours between feedings during the day, but usually it's due to a long nap. He's a big boy (17 lbs) and continues to grow like a weed.

I think every 2 hours is probably pretty normal for most breastfed babies at this age. As long as baby is healthy and happy. It's a lot of work, but worth it. Before you know it he'll be doing longer and longer stretches...giving you and your boobies a little break :)

Nicole - posted on 05/30/2009

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not true! my 8 month old still does nurses like that and my supply is great (she was 21.5 lbs at her 7month dr. appointment). keep nursing on demand, it is what she needs and don't supplement with formula.

Sara - posted on 05/30/2009

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NO THAT IS NOT THE REASON. I get so frusterated with people who open their mouths and have NO CLUE what they're talking about because then it discourages someone like you who is trying to breastfeed. It is COMPLETELY normal for your 3 month old to nurse every two hours. My son nursed every 2 hours for quite some time, then eventually it spread to three, then four, now that he's 16 months he nurses only in the morning, afternoon and once at night. The GREAT thing about breastfeeding is you can't go wrong. If your baby needs more milk she'll nurse more often which will increast your milk supply. If your baby needs less she'll nurse less and...well you get it right? LOL Besides that your breastmilk will change and adapt to what your baby needs as she gets older. Breast is best and if you need answers this is probably the best place to come - sometimes I think even over going to your doctor (at least for questions like these) because you just never know if your pediatrician is an advocate for breastfeeding or not. Plus, I don't know about you but if I called the doctors office five times with a simple question I'd get a different answer from every doctor. If your baby is having wet diapers and bms then she's fine!!

Jayda - posted on 05/30/2009

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All babies are different just like us. On average a 3 month baby should nurse 8-12x's a day. As your baby gets older and starts more solids then your baby in most cases nurses less. Just let your baby led and give you ques (like hand sucking) as to when she's hungry or needs your comfort.

Kayleigh - posted on 05/30/2009

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My 3 month old nurses at 6 am 10 am 2 pm 6 pm and 10 pm
then sleeps until 6 am and wakes up for a feed. On schedule,

Emily - posted on 05/30/2009

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Bf babies typically nurse every two hours. I have 12 mo old twins. In the morning and late in the day they nurse every two hours. In their case they are doing it bc they sleep for long stretches.



Bm is much more easily digested than formula which is why bf babies eat more often. Consider the source when people are telling you things about bf and your milk. If they don't/haven't bf I would not listen to what they are saying.

[deleted account]

Every 2 hours is fine. You can try getting her to nurse longer or maybe pumping after a feed if you want to try encouraging her to go a bit longer, but it's not at all a problem for her to be nursing that often.

Natalie - posted on 05/30/2009

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you may not have as much fat but if you don't then baby will nurse more often. 3 months is also a growth spurt month so she may nurse more often duye to that. 2 hours is fine. I wouldn't worry about how often your 3 month old should nurse!!

Charlotte - posted on 05/30/2009

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Your 3 month old should nurse as often as she wants to. Every 2 hours is totally fine. I think my babies were both nursing about every hour at that age. These people who are telling you stuff about not enough fat and what she should or shouldn't be doing need to get a little more education about breastfeeding.

Elaine - posted on 05/30/2009

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thats normal 'i think' for breast fed babies theres no easy answer,because they have growth spirts so sometimes they feed less or more frequently as the baby gets older and you give it solids usually they tend to feed less

Lucinda - posted on 05/30/2009

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hannah having fat in ur milk doesnt hav anything 2 do with her nursing so fast that jus how they r when she gets older u will c she might not eat alot>

Minnie - posted on 05/30/2009

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That OFTEN? LOL....my seven month old has never gone that long between feedings. She nurses AT LEAST twice an hour. Your milk is perfectly fine.





Women have different capacity for storage in their breasts. Milk quality does not change from woman to woman much, but the quantity between feedings can vary. So a baby from one mother may need to nurse every three hours, wheras a baby from another mother (like me) needs to nurse twice an hour. Neither one of us truly is ever empty, but your baby can get enough from you in one feeding to last her two hours.





Don't worry. Put baby to your breast whenever she wants it, no matter how soon she last ate, and you will have no problems. Understand that when she goes through a growth spurt she may want to nurse more frequently than every two hours, and that's normal too.



Concerning the people who told you she shouldn't nurse that often- most people are not knowledgeable about the biology of breastfeeding- even doctors and nurses typically aren't. Most babies in western culture are formula fed. And those babies have to be scheduled, usually every four hours, because of the indigestibility of the cow's milk proteins in formula. But human milk is supremely digestible by your baby, and digests in about an hour. The hormone prolactin, which is responsible for milk production, is also dependent on frequent feedings of at least every two hours.



So rest assured, if baby has a good latch, if her urine is not dark or smelly or scant output and she is pooing, and is gaining weight, even if a little bit, you and she are doing perfectly fine.

[deleted account]

Even though it is normal for a 3 month old to nurse every 2 hours, it is very hard on Mom! It is also normal for a 3 month old to go longer too! One bit of advice if you want to try to stretch it to 3 hours~ try not to nurse baby to sleep. It is very important for baby to nurse when he wakes up, not when going to sleep. I also recommend the book "Babywise" to see how often a 3 month old should nurse, but if you just follow that one little bit, they usually set their own schedule. Good luck!

Carmin - posted on 06/01/2009

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ok hannah i nursed my two year old for 8 months and on 4 months with this child. I have had the same thing and it is frustrating. the only thing that helped me gain my sanity is the book Baby Wise you can find it at babys r us and it will tell you how often a 3 month old should nurse. what is happening is that she is snack feeding it is not that you dont have enough fat it is that she isnt getting it try to hold her off for four hours one day you might want to start with 3 hours to 3 and a half after a feeding you keep her awake for about a hour then put her down she should sleep till the next feeding. it will help you and her get a little more rest and more ease to the brest feeding thing. After i started on that schdule i knew exactly what was worng with her wither she was hungry wet tired or just wants to cuddle by what the clock told me. I works get the book.

[deleted account]

My 3 month old nurses every 2 hours as well, and I got AAAALLLLL kinds of helpful "advice" about that. As long as she's growing and her diaper output is ok, just ignore them and follow your instincts.

Natalie - posted on 05/30/2009

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you may not have as much fat but if you don't then baby will nurse more often. 3 months is also a growth spurt month so she may nurse more often duye to that. 2 hours is fine. I wouldn't worry about how often your 3 month old should nurse!!

Charlotte - posted on 05/30/2009

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Your 3 month old should nurse as often as she wants to. Every 2 hours is totally fine. I think my babies were both nursing about every hour at that age. These people who are telling you stuff about not enough fat and what she should or shouldn't be doing need to get a little more education about breastfeeding.

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