3 week old- how long can he go between feedings?

[deleted account] ( 10 moms have responded )

I breastfeed exclusively. They say for the first 2 weeks to nurse every 2-3 hours during the day and one stretch of 4 hours at night. Now that he is 3 weeks, how long in between feedings can he go (given he hasn't given signs of hunger)?

He lets me know when he is hungry during the day if he is awake. I am confused about how long I can let him go if he is napping or at nighttime. I don't want my supply to decrease or for him to go too long for his age.



Pauline - posted on 01/30/2009




What I recommend, and what I did with my three (and will with this one), is to feed on demand - if baby is hungry, feed them.  If they are sleeping, let them sleep.  I *never* woke a baby (older than a few days) up to nurse - when they get hungry they'll wake and let you know they are hungry. ;)  That is assuming that baby is happy and healthy otherwise - a naturally lethargic baby might need to be encouraged a little more - but that's something that would be on a baby-by-baby case.

Watch diapers, make sure he is gaining weight, and as long as he's happy/healthy, let him lead the way. :)  You're doing fine mama - watch your baby, not the clock. ;)


User - posted on 01/30/2009




At three weeks they go through a growth spurt and at that point my daughter was nursing every hour some days. Just look for cues and wet diapers and try not to schedule to much. You normally don't have to wake him up if he is sleeping because if he gets too hungry he will wake on his own.

Ashley - posted on 01/30/2009




What a fantastic question. As a first time mom I found the task of breastfeeding to me more then I had expected it to be. My son did not latch on for about a month. After 4 weeks I was oh so excited when he started feeding every three hours. At that moment I realized there was more to life then sitting breastfeeding. The best advice I would give to any new mom is to get them as scheduled as possible as quickly as possible. My son is 7 months and is strictly breastfed. Knowing that he will be hungry every three hours makes leaving the house much easier. Just remember it is supply and demand so if you ever give him stored milk pump the same amount he ate and your supply wont diminish.

Melissa - posted on 01/30/2009




I wouldn't worry about your supply... If you are worried and your little one is sleeping don't wake him and just pump store your milk in the fridge and if he wakes up soon there after give him a bottle.
I always fed on demand and still do my son is 6 months now and I still get engorged in the mornings after him sleeping through the night. He fed about every 2-3 hours sometimes 4 when he was that age.
Just try not to watch the clock or worry about what side you fed from last, it will drive you insane... it did for me and that is when i threw in the towel and just came to the conclusion he will eat when he is hungry.
Like I said though, don't be to worried about your supply your body goes by when the baby is hungry and there will always be milk there. You only have to worry if you are away for long periods of time then you pack your pump with you lol!

Alison - posted on 01/31/2009




Its supply and demand that triggers how much milk you produce. Im on my third child and theyve all been different. One thing ive learned is that its best (for me) to feed on demand and not get hung up on when the feed "should" be. My eldest fed every two hours like clockwork day and night. My middle one seemed to feed all day long but was a brilliant sleeper always going from 11pm till 5am in her own cot. My third who is just three months feeds a lot night and day though she is getting better at going a couple of hours in the day.

Ive never woken any of mine to feed. Ive just gone with their cues.

Hope this helps. One things for sure breastfed babies like to feed on demand rather than a schedule.


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[deleted account]

Thank you for all the helpful replies!  I just need to stop watching the clock  :) 

Tatham - posted on 01/31/2009




my son is 11 weeks old now, and still eats every 3-4 hours during the day and will do anywhere from 4-6 hours at night..he did his first 6 hour stretch at about 7 weeks..my doctor says he should still be eating that often during the day and it does make it easier when i'm doing things during the day knowing when he will have to eat.

Crystal - posted on 01/30/2009




Like everyone else said, I'd just feed if he seems hungry and let him sleep when he's tired. He'll let you know when he's hungry.

Katie - posted on 01/30/2009




There is so much conflicting information out there about how long you should wait to feed them, wake them during the day, etc.  It will drive a mom crazy!  I know it did me when I was in week 3 with my son.  I say let him tell you when he is hungry and try not to worry too much about times.  If he is peeing and pooping and gaining weight, that is all that matters.  That said, at 3 weeks, my son was eating every 2 hours with maybe some 4-hour stretches at night.

Mhodny - posted on 01/30/2009




At that age, my son was eating like every other hour, however, he had bad jaundice and I was told that I was supposed to nurse him that often. As long as you're feeding him every 2-5 hours I think it should be fine. Just make sure to pay attention to dirty and wet diapers. At this age, my son gave us a dirty and wet diaper just about every time that he ate, so that's always a sign that he's getting enough. Also, if he appears to be doing well and thriving, you don't need to worry. I probably wouldn't worry about decreasing your supply that much (however, when Caden was that young, I had enough milk to feed the children in a small village, I would have welcomed the decrease) my son is now eating only once every 4-5 hours and then once at night and I still have plenty for him. Not to mention, if he's anything like Caden, he will welcome any chance to eat, so if you're concerned, I'm sure he would probably latch on whenever you are ready, too. I hope this helps. Keep up the good work!

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