When do breastfed babies go longer between feedings
Breastfeeding after one month: What to expect
Do you know when your breast milk supply settles down? Or how your baby’s breastfeeding frequency and duration change as he gets bigger and more active? Find out in our guide to breastfeeding after one month
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Congratulations – you’ve made it through the first crazy month of breastfeeding. Your breast milk is now fully mature,1 your supply is beginning to calm down, and your breasts won’t leak as much, or at all, any more. Don’t worry, you’re not losing your supply – your breasts are just getting more efficient at making and storing milk.2 At six weeks, you’ll start seeing your baby’s first gorgeous gummy smiles, and by two months you’ll have 500 to 600 feeds under your belt. Hopefully any latch issues will be resolved, and now it’s a case of maintaining breastfeeding and enjoying the convenience and ongoing health benefits.
When does breastfeeding frequency slow down?
The range of ‘normal’ breastfeeding for babies aged one to six months is wide – some only feed four times in 24 hours, while others have 13 feeds a day.3
“After he’s about one month old, your baby will begin taking bigger volumes of milk at a feed and may start to go longer between feeds,” explains internationally renowned lactation consultant Cathy Garbin. “His stomach is growing so he can take larger feeds, plus your mature milk keeps him fuller for longer.”
Feeds can last anything from 12 minutes to nearer an hour – there really is that much variability between babies!3 But if your baby is gaining weight and has a feeding pattern that fits into these ranges, you have no cause for concern.
Amazingly however, no matter how often your baby feeds, he’ll consume roughly the same quantity of milk per day at one month old as he will at six months, when you start introducing solid foods.4
“Having said that, you’ll invariably get some days when he wants to feed a bit more or less, especially if he’s not feeling well, and you should just go with it,” says Cathy.
Does my baby really only need breast milk for the first six months?
Yes. Breast milk provides your baby with everything he needs for the first six months of life – if he’s exclusively breastfed, he doesn’t even need water!5 In fact, his digestive system is not able to cope with solid foods until around six months, and he won’t be able to drink cow’s milk until he’s a year old.
Breastfeeding throughout this stage also prepares your baby for the exciting milestones ahead. It exercises his mouth muscles and helps develop his jaw and align his teeth,6,7 which are all important for eating and talking. And because the flavour of your breast milk can be influenced by what you eat or drink, it means your baby can experience new tastes before he even starts solids.8
Not only that but if he gets ill, your body will produce antibodies that go into your breast milk to help fight off the infection.9 This means it will continue to protect him as he grows and gets more active over the months to come.
Once you hit your stride, carrying on breastfeeding is also incredibly convenient, as Claudia, mum of two, UK, discovered: “Not having to sterilise loads of bottles, make up formula, cart it all around, then heat it up, made breastfeeding the easy option – especially as my babies got a bit older and we went out more.”
When will my breastfed baby sleep through the night?
It’s normal for all babies to wake during the night. The majority of one- to six-month-old babies consume a fifth of their daily milk intake at night, so these feeds are important to ensure they get enough calories.3
“Really, it depends on what you call sleeping through the night,” says Cathy. “If your baby goes to bed at midnight and wakes up at 05:00, some people call that sleeping through and it’s certainly better than waking every two hours! I’ve known breastfed babies who’ve gone to bed at 19:00 and woken at 07:00 from six weeks, but plenty of others continue to wake frequently. Every child is different.”
A study of more than 700 babies in Wales showed that almost 80% woke at least once a night between six and 12 months, and 25% woke three times or more. There was no difference in frequency between breastfed or formula-fed babies.10
So, if you’re going to be waking up anyway, at least breastfeeding is a convenient option! As Minette, mum of two, Australia, agrees: “At night you barely have to wake up – just let your body and baby go on automatic pilot. No planning, measuring or sterilising. It’s all ready and at the right temperature in your boob. Perfect for me.”
My baby has started waking up more – is he hungry?
At around four months, your baby’s sleep patterns may change as he starts to cycle between periods of deep and light sleep, just like an adult. As a result, he may start waking more frequently at night. “At this four-month stage you may be dealing with a sleep issue not a feeding issue,” says Cathy. “It can wear you out, but try to go with the flow and ride through it. ”
Some people refer to this as the ‘four-month sleep regression’ but a more apt word is progression. While it may feel like a step back, your baby is approaching an important developmental phase. He’s learning rapidly, becoming more aware of the world, gaining better depth-perception, and perhaps starting to experience separation anxiety. Crying for you when he wakes, feeding and being close to you is a way of seeking reassurance.11–13
Don’t be tempted to give a ‘top-up’ of formula or introduce solids early in a bid to make your baby sleep longer. Your breast milk contains hormones that cause drowsiness and help both of you relax. And studies show mums who breastfeed actually get more sleep each night than those using formula or mixed feeding.14
How will teething affect breastfeeding?
Teething often starts from about four months. Your baby might become fussy and pull off your breast, crying with discomfort, if his gums are sore, which can be frustrating.
However, breastfeeding can also be soothing. A study showed babies who are breastfed during immunisations cry less and recover more quickly from the pain,15 and this calming effect could also help your baby while he’s teething.
An unwanted side effect may be that your baby starts to use your breast to try out his new teeth.“Occasionally some babies will have a little game and bite their mum playfully. If this is about to happen, you might notice a subtle change in your baby during the feed – he’ll have to move his tongue out of the way before he bites,” says Cathy. “It’s not usually a big problem and might only happen for a couple of feeds. Just stop the feed, tell him gently that it’s not good to bite, and he’ll soon cotton on.”
How can I continue breastfeeding if I’m away from my baby?
There may be occasions while you’re still exclusively breastfeeding during the first six months when you need to leave your baby for a couple of hours – or even longer if you have to return to work or go away for a day or two.
Don’t feel like you have to give up breastfeeding at this point. You can still continue giving your child the benefits of breast milk by pumping milk that can be fed to him while you’re not there, as Cathy explains:
“Express milk for a couple of days beforehand, taking small quantities – maybe 40 to 60 ml (1.4 to 2.1 fl oz) at a time – so you have a bank ready for whoever will be caring for your baby. By taking small amounts, you won’t affect your milk supply.
“If you’re returning to work, talk to your employer to get a plan in place. Many mums breastfeed their baby at night and do the first and last feeds. Then they express at lunchtime to ease any discomfort and provide milk for the next day.
“It’s usually much easier than people think it’s going to be, and many workplaces are set up for it these days,” she adds. “Breast pumps are efficient and will help you manage this juggling act easily.”
Natalie, mum of one, US, describes her routine: “I feed Dylan as soon as he wakes, and sometimes again before I go to work to get my supply going and have that connection. I pump twice at work for the next day (he has two bottles of breast milk while I’m at work) and then hurry home for his evening feed. At the weekends, I don’t pump and he goes back to just breastfeeding.”
Can I continue breastfeeding after introducing solids?
When your baby is showing an interest in food and sitting up unsupported, at around six months, he’s ready for you to start introducing solid foods. However, this doesn’t have to be the end of breastfeeding, as Cathy explains: “Your baby’s stores of iron, built up during pregnancy, have been used by six months and he needs to start getting more,” she says.
“Introduce foods around this time, but remember breastfeeding will remain more important as a source of calories and nutrients until your baby is around eight to nine months old. He’ll be eating a lot more food by that point, but you may still be giving breastfeeds four to five times a day, depending on your baby. By the time he gets to 12 months, you could be breastfeeding anywhere between two and six times a day. All babies are individuals and he could still be getting half his calories from breast milk.”
And don’t forget, your breast milk can also be added to your baby’s first solid foods, such as cereals and purees, so he can experience a familiar flavour at meals. If possible, use it freshly expressed (not defrosted) and mix in just before serving, so the live components and nutrients are not destroyed.16
You may feel social pressure to stop at six months, but the longer you breastfeed or express, the more benefits there are for you both.
How long can I keep breastfeeding for?
“The World Health Organization recommends giving toddlers breast milk alongside solid foods until they turn two and beyond, as it still has a vital role in supporting the immune system,” says Cathy. “It’s also an important way to offer emotional support when they’re feeling overwhelmed or poorly.”
At eight months old, you may be giving your baby four feeds a day but after he’s a year old, you could be feeding as little as twice a day. You can find a pattern that works for you both and fits into your lifestyle, as Jane, mum of two, US, found. She breastfed her children until they were around the age of two: “I’d feed when I was around in the evenings and at weekends, when they wanted to feel close to me,” she says. “It was a great help when they were sick, and my go-to method of comforting.”
“As my son grew older and became more adventurous, he’d often come back to me to nurse, as if to ground him and allow him to recharge,” remembers Amy, mum of two, Canada. “When he encountered bumps and bruises along the way, breastfeeding was a great comfort to him.”
If you breastfeed your baby into toddlerhood, other people may comment that he’ll never want to stop. But, given the freedom to choose, toddlers often self-wean between the ages of two and four years.17
“I never set out to breastfeed for so long but am still feeding my four-year-old and 22-month-old,” says Susannah, mum of two, UK. “I feed my youngest before and after work and pump during work trips. My eldest has a little comfort feed before bed or when she’s upset – it’s a great way to reconnect. When I’m exhausted or feeling touched out, I focus on the amazing health benefits and comfort I’m giving them. I’m now planning to follow infant-led weaning and let them stop when they’re ready.”
Find out more about what you can expect, along with lots of support and advice, in Breastfeeding challenges after the first month
1 Ballard O, Morrow AL. Human milk composition: nutrients and bioactive factors. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2013;60(1):49-74.
2 Kent JC et al. Principles for maintaining or increasing breast milk production. J Obstet, Gynecol, & Neonatal Nurs. 2012;41(1):114-21.
3 Kent JC et al. Volume and frequency of breastfeedings and fat content of breast milk throughout the day. Pediatrics. 2006;117(3):e387-395.
4 Kent JC et al. Longitudinal changes in breastfeeding patterns from 1 to 6 months of lactation. Breast Med. 2013;8(4):401-407.
5 Almroth S, Bidinger PD. No need for water supplementation for exclusively breast-fed infants under hot and arid conditions. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1990;84(4):602-604.
6 Victora CG et al. Breastfeeding in the 21st century: epidemiology, mechanisms, and lifelong effect. Lancet. 2016;387(10017):475-490.
7 Peres KG et al. Effect of breastfeeding on malocclusions: a systematic review and meta‐analysis. Acta Paediatr. 2015;104(S467):54-61.
8 Mennella JA, Beauchamp GK. Maternal diet alters the sensory qualities of human milk and the nursling's behavior. Pediatrics. 1991;88(4):737-744.
9 Hassiotou F et al. Maternal and infant infections stimulate a rapid leukocyte response in breastmilk. Clin Transl immunology. 2013;2(4).
10 Brown A, Harries V. Infant sleep and night feeding patterns during later infancy: Association with breastfeeding frequency, daytime complementary food intake, and infant weight. Breast Med. 2015;10(5):246-252.
11 Infant sleep information source. [Internet]. Normal Infant Sleep Development; December 2017 [cited 2018 Feb]
12 Baby sleep science. [Internet]. The-Four-Month-Sleep-Regression-What-is-it-and-What-can-be-Done-About-it. March 2014 [cited 2018 Feb]
13 The Myth Of Baby Sleep Regressions – What’s Really Happening To Your Baby’s Sleep? [Internet]. Pinky Mckay; December 2017 [cited 2018 Feb]
14 Kendall-Tackett K et al. The effect of feeding method on sleep duration, maternal well-being, and postpartum depression. Clinical Lactation. 2011;2(2):22-26.
15) Harrison D et al. Breastfeeding for procedural pain in infants beyond the neonatal period. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;10.
16 Czank C et al. Retention of the immunological proteins of pasteurized human milk in relation to pasteurizer design and practice. Pediatr Res. 2009;66(4):374.
17 Weaning from the breast. (2004). Paediatr Child Health, 9(4):249–253.
Breastfeeding FAQs: How Much and How Often (for Parents)
Breastfeeding is a natural thing to do, but it still comes with its fair share of questions. Here's what you need to know about how often and how long to breastfeed your baby.
How Often Should I Breastfeed?
Newborn babies should breastfeed 8–12 times per day for about the first month. Breast milk is easily digested, so newborns are hungry often. Frequent feedings helps stimulate your milk production during the first few weeks.
By the time your baby is 1–2 months old, he or she probably will nurse 7–9 times a day.
In the first few weeks of life, breastfeeding should be "on demand" (when your baby is hungry), which is about every 1-1/2 to 3 hours. As newborns get older, they'll nurse less often, and may have a more predictable schedule. Some might feed every 90 minutes, whereas others might go 2–3 hours between feedings.
Newborns should not go more than about 4 hours without feeding, even overnight.
How Do I Count the Time Between Feedings?
Count the length of time between feedings from the time your baby begins to nurse (rather than at the end) to when your little one starts nursing again. In other words, when your doctor asks how often your baby is feeding, you can say "about every 2 hours" if your first feeding started at 6 a.m., the next feeding was around 8 a.m., then 10 a.m., and so on.
Especially at first, you might feel like you're nursing around the clock, which is normal. Soon enough, your baby will go longer between feedings.
How Long Does Nursing Take?
Newborns may nurse for up to 20 minutes or longer on one or both breasts. As babies get older and more skilled at breastfeeding, they may take about 5–10 minutes on each side.
How long it takes to breastfeed depends on you, your baby, and other things, such as whether:
- your milk supply has come in (this usually happens 2–5 days after birth)
- your let-down reflex (which causes milk to flow from the nipple) happens right away or after a few minutes into a feeding
- your milk flow is slow or fast
- the baby has a good latch, taking in as much as possible of your areola (the dark circle of skin around your nipple)
- your baby begins gulping right away or takes it slow
- your baby is sleepy or distracted
Call your doctor if you're worried that your baby's feedings seem too short or too long.
When Should I Alternate Breasts?
Alternate breasts and try to give each one the same amount of nursing time throughout the day. This helps to keep up your milk supply in both breasts and prevents painful engorgement (when your breasts overfill with milk).
You may switch breasts in the middle of each feeding and then alternate which breast you offer first for each feeding. Can't remember where your baby last nursed? It can help to attach a reminder — like a safety pin or small ribbon — to your bra strap so you'll know which breast your baby last nursed on. Then, start with that breast at the next feeding. Or, keep a notebook handy or use a breastfeeding app to keep track of how your baby feeds.
Your baby may like switching breasts at each feeding or prefer to nurse just on one side. If so, then offer the other breast at the next feeding. Do whatever works best and is the most comfortable for you and your baby.
How Often Should I Burp My Baby During Feedings?
After your baby finishes on one side, try burping before switching breasts. Sometimes, the movement alone can be enough to cause a baby to burp.
Some infants need more burping, others less, and it can vary from feeding to feeding.
If your baby spits up a lot, try burping more often. While it's normal for infants to "spit up" a small amount after eating or during burping, a baby should not vomit after feeding. If your baby throws up all or most of a feeding, there could be a problem that needs medical care. If you're worried that your baby is spitting up too much, call your doctor.
Why Is My Baby Hungrier Than Usual?
When babies go through a period of rapid growth (called a growth spurt), they want to eat more than usual. These can happen at any time. But in the early months, growth spurts often happen when a baby is:
- 7–14 days old
- 2 months old
- 4 months old
- 6 months old
During these times and whenever your baby seems extra hungry, follow your little one's hunger cues. You may need to breastfeed more often for a while.
How Long Should I Breastfeed My Baby?
That's a personal choice. Experts recommend that babies be breastfed exclusively (without formula, water, juice, non–breast milk, or food) for the first 6 months. Then, breastfeeding can continue until 12 months (and beyond) if it's working for you and your baby.
Breastfeeding has many benefits for mom and baby both. Studies show that breastfeeding can lessen a baby's chances of diarrhea, ear infections, and bacterial meningitis, or make symptoms less severe. Breastfeeding also may protect children from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), diabetes, obesity, and asthma.
For moms, breastfeeding burns calories and helps shrink the uterus. In fact, breastfeeding moms might return to their pre–pregnancy shape and weight quicker. Breastfeeding also helps lower a woman's risk of diseases like:
- breast cancer
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
It also might help protect moms from uterine cancer and ovarian cancer.
Breastfeeding patterns - what to choose
— Polina Alexandrovna, what is the difference between breastfeeding, mixed and artificial feeding?
- The differences between breastfeeding from artificial and mixed clearly explain why feeding regimens differ.
- Normally, by what month should the feeding regimen be established?
- The diet is constantly changing. The older the child becomes, the larger portion of milk he eats, the smaller the frequency of feeding.
After childbirth, when the mother is lactating, the child also develops its own diet. In the first weeks, everything is quite chaotic and there is no regime as such, and the mother makes sure that the interval between breastfeedings is not more than 2.5 hours (it can be half an hour or two hours) and the child does not remain hungry. From about the second or third week, the baby has more or less regular intervals between feedings. We can say that the regime has been established. But this mode gradually changes as the baby gets older.
- What is the benefit - and what harm can be from feeding by the clock?
- The child knows when it's time to eat - the body adapts initially. It's no secret: certain enzymes are needed to digest food. When food enters the child's body regularly, his enzyme system and gastrointestinal tract adjust to the regime, and it is much easier for the child to digest food.
- A mode of wakefulness and sleep is being formed - at every minute of time, the child understands what will happen to him.
- Parents are not "hostage" to the baby, they have the opportunity to plan their free time - especially mothers, who always do not have enough time. The feeding regime and the regime of wakefulness and sleep make the situation very easy - at every moment the mother knows what awaits her.
- Mom keeps a feeding schedule, but doesn't stick to a sleeping schedule - and sets herself a trap. She can get into a situation where the baby is sleeping, and it's time to feed him. And it is not clear whether to wake the baby or let him sleep. If you choose a regimen, then it must be observed both in feeding and in laying down.
- There are situations when it is difficult to feed the baby on time (for example, you are far from home and you do not have formula). But it is worth foreseeing everything, and there will be no problems. You just need to be able to plan everything correctly.
— How to painlessly accustom a child to an hourly feeding schedule?
For a child, the regimen is not something painful, and if we build a clear daily routine, then, believe me, it becomes comfortable not only for the mother, but also for the baby. This is absolutely normal. But in order to build a regimen, you need to understand what it should ideally be - you must plan what intervals between feedings you want to come to.
The next step is to evaluate where you are right now. For example, you would like to make the interval between feedings three hours, but the baby eats every hour and a half. Of course, if you just suddenly start to pause between feedings at three hours, nothing good will come of it - it will be very stressful for the child.
Therefore, you need to act smoothly:
- determine point A, from which you are going, and point B, which you must come to;
- gradually adjust to the mode that we would like to have ideally.
Now the breaks between feedings are 1.5 hours, and we want 3 hours. We add five minutes each time so as not to injure the child, and at some point we take a break not at 1.5 hours, but at 1 hour 35 minutes, then at 1 hour 40 minutes and so on. The amount of food will also change a little.
- If we talk about night feeding with an hourly schedule, is it necessary to wake the baby when it's time to eat?
- Night feedings are normal for a child up to a year old.
Newborn has no division of day into day and night - there are approximate three-hour cycles. He woke up - ate - slept, woke up - ate - slept. And so every day. For a newborn baby, night feedings are the absolute norm.
For a 1 year old child Feeding 1-2 times a night is normal. But a child of a year may not eat at night.
In order to understand whether it is worth waking up and feeding the baby, you need to know how much he eats per day. Each child at each age has a certain norm - the amount of food that he should eat per day (we always count not per day, but per day).
- If a child has eaten his norm during the day and sleeps at night, then he does not need to be awakened.
- If child for day ate about 70% of his norm , then at night it is advisable to wake him up and feed him.
We always evaluate nutritional adequacy by weight gain.
- If a child in one month has gained weight and height within the norm for his age, then he receives enough nutrition.
- If a child does not gain weight and height , then he needs to be offered food more often at night so that he fits into the norm.
- If there are too many nighttime feeds on an hourly or on-demand basis, what to do about it?
- Night "snacks" do not always indicate the child's need for food. When a child asks for a breast at night, mothers mistakenly think that this is only hunger and nothing more. In fact, a child may worry at night due to a violation of the regime or the so-called negative association for sleep (when he can only fall asleep with a breast).
When there is no regime, the child "does not get enough sleep" of the daily allowance and there is a so-called accumulated fatigue, his nervous system is in a very strong excitation. In such a situation, nightly feedings every hour often indicate that the baby has a violation of the regime - it is difficult for him to get up, his nervous system is overexcited, he physically cannot fall asleep without his mother's breast.
Such night feedings can be identified easily:
- the child wakes up every 40 minutes - 1 hour at night and asks for food, and during the day he usually eats every 3-4 hours - which means that he is unlikely to experience hunger;
- the child eats very little at night - he kissed his breast or a bottle, ate 10-20 g and fell asleep. This means that the baby performed a certain ritual: he waited for his mother, satisfied the sucking reflex, and thanks to this he fell asleep - in such a case, he did not have a goal to eat.
With these night feeds, you need to pay attention to two factors:
- Sufficiency of nutrition - it is worth making sure that the child receives the required amount of food during the day, does not starve during the day and does not get at night the amount of food that should have been received during the day .
- Correct mode - you need to make sure that the child is all right with the mode, there is no accumulated fatigue and a negative association with sleep.
Is it normal for a child not to eat at night or very little?
“This reverse situation may or may not be the norm. It all depends on the age of the baby and on whether he receives enough food in the daytime feeding.
It is not normal for a newborn child not to eat at night, he must eat every 2.5-3 hours. When breastfeeding, this is critically important - for the mother to establish lactation, and for the baby to replenish the reserves that he needs.
An unpleasant situation can happen in the first couple of months - the mother is glad that the baby sleeps well and does not wake up at night, and on weighing it is clear that the child not only gained a little, but did not add at all in one month, that is, he is clearly starving.
Newborn babies have this feature: if they receive very little food, they do not have the strength to ask. Therefore, it is extremely important to ensure that a newborn baby eats both day and night!
A child older than 1.5-2 months adds weight and height within the normal range, eats all the amount of food he needs during the day, feels great, is not crying or irritated, and at the same time sleeps at night - let him sleep to his health. The most important thing is that he gains weight and height - these are the main indicators by which we can assess that the child has enough nutrition.
— If a mother prefers on-demand feeding, what is the most gentle way for her to organize it?
It is important to understand that one should not go to extremes.
the child sleeps for a very long time, the intervals between feedings are 5-6 hours. It seems to mom that everything is fine, but weighing shows that the child is underweight. Mom waited too long and missed the moment when the child simply stopped asking for food due to exhaustion.
A 7-month-old baby eats every hour, that is, about 20 times a day. This is, of course, an abnormal situation.
When we talk about feeding on demand, we mean that there is a certain interval between feedings. It varies depending on age:
- for a newborn baby it is about 2 hours;
- for a child older than 1 month - approximately 3 hours;
- closer to 4 months - 3-3.5 or 3.5-4 hours, each baby individually.
NORM - from 2 to 4 hours during the first year of a child's life, and you can deviate from this norm +/- for half an hour. If the intervals between feedings become very short (every hour) or very long (5-6 hours), we adjust them in order to stick to the norm and not go to extremes.
— If a child eats little, but often enough, then what regimen is more relevant for him?
- Little, but often - this is not quite normal. It is important to observe the daily amount of food. If a child consumes a daily norm that he needs by age, and at the same time eats little, but often, it means that either the mother does not have enough milk for the child to eat more and, accordingly, withstand long intervals, or the child is simply already used to it - He can't eat more at one time. In both cases, you need to try to slightly increase the intervals.
We can feed both on demand and on schedule - there is no fundamental difference here. But most likely, if we stay on demand, the baby will continue to feed every hour and his amount of food at a time will be quite small for his age. Therefore, you need to try to maintain a slightly longer interval between feedings and watch how much he will eat.
- There are situations when a child's regimen is disturbed for some reason - allergies, gastrointestinal upset. How soon can you return to your normal routine?
- By and large, the sooner you return to normal mode, the better. Do not worry too much if the child does not eat for several days according to the regimen, this will not affect your condition or the physical condition of the baby in any way. The most important thing is not through force and not aggressively, but very gently to return the child to the regime that he had. The clearer and longer the regime was, the easier it is to return to it.
— Why is it important to observe the feeding regimen?
— It is important to observe the feeding schedule:
- For parents — so that the mother is not a “hostage” of the child and understands what will happen in the near future, could plan something or leave the house. This, it would seem, is not so important for the child, but it is important for the general climate in the family, so that the mother feels relatively free, not “tied hand and foot” to her baby.
- For a baby - I am always for the regime and always urge parents to comply with it, because for a child everything should be predictable - he gets used to the order, is drawn into the regime and feels as comfortable as possible. Parents are comfortable when they know what will happen to them - and the baby is much easier when he knows that food or sleep is on schedule - his body begins to adjust accordingly.
— In what cases is it possible to move away from the usual feeding regimen?
— If it is possible not to deviate from the regime, then it is better not to deviate. But if this happened, do not worry, do not blame and do not reproach yourself, nothing critical will happen, even if the child does not eat according to the regimen for a couple of days. Just get back to your routine as quickly as possible and you'll be fine.
- Polina Alexandrovna, please give examples of the feeding regimen and daily diet for babies of different ages.
— There are a few things to consider when planning your baby's feeding schedule and diet.
- The amount of food that the child should receive per day.
Many mothers, unfortunately, mistakenly believe that the daily volume depends only on the age of the baby. But there is no universal portion, it is more in line with the weight of the baby. So, two children of the same age, but of different weights, will need different amounts of food per day. Therefore, it is quite difficult to find clear instructions on how many milliliters at a time a child should eat in each case.
- Feeding frequency.
In order to calculate the amount of food at one time, you need to know how much food you need per day and how many times the mother will feed the baby - that is, the frequency of his feedings. In this case, you should always focus on children's weight. I recommend scheduling meals with your pediatrician so that everything is tailored to your child's specific needs.
- for a 2-month-old baby - 6-7 times a day and +/- 120-150 ml of breast milk eaten per feeding,
- for a child 5-6 months - 5-6 times a day +/- 180-210 ml of breast milk eaten per feeding,
Feeding babies have larger servings, depending on weight and frequency of feedings. And you need to remember: complementary foods are not an additional amount of nutrition, it must fit into the daily norm, which corresponds to age and is redistributed between complementary foods and breast milk and / or mixture in different percentages.
A breastfeeding, formula-fed or formula-fed baby regimen is a great helper for mom and baby. The regime should not lead to additional difficulties in the family - sit with a stopwatch near the baby, wake him up at night when three hours have passed after feeding. If you adhere to the correct diet and sleep, then both the child and you will have an understanding of what will happen next at any given moment. This will make life easier for the whole family.
* Breast milk is the best food for babies. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of a child's life and continued breastfeeding after complementary foods are introduced until the age of 2 years. Before introducing new products into the baby's diet, you should consult with a specialist. The material is for informational purposes and cannot replace the advice of a healthcare professional. For feeding children from birth. The product is certified.
Breastfeeding after 1 month: what to expect
Do you know when breast milk production stabilizes? And how does the frequency and duration of feedings change as the baby grows? You will find answers to these questions in our recommendations for breastfeeding after the first month.
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Congratulations: You made it through the first month of breastfeeding. Your breast milk has reached full maturity 1 , its production stabilizes, and it leaks almost or not at all from the chest. Don't worry, it's not getting less milk, it's just that your breasts are better able to produce and store it now. 2 At the age of six weeks, your baby will begin to please you with his charming toothless smiles, and by two months you will already have 500-600 feedings behind you. With a favorable development of events, problems with latch on by this point will already be resolved, and you can simply enjoy the convenience and benefits of breastfeeding.
When does breastfeeding decrease?
The "normal" frequency of feedings for babies aged one to six months varies considerably, with some needing four feedings a day, others asking to be breastfed 13 times a day. 3
“From the age of one month, the amount of milk a baby consumes per feed increases so that he can go without food for longer,” explains Cathy Garbin, a recognized international expert on breastfeeding, “A baby’s stomach grows, so he eat more at one time. In addition, mature milk allows him to stay full longer.”
Feeding can last from 12 minutes to one hour -
the habits of babies vary so much! 3 But if the child is gaining weight and falls within this range, there is no cause for concern.
What is most surprising, no matter how often the baby eats, he consumes approximately the same amount of milk per day - both at one month and at six, when it is time to start complementary foods with solid food. 4
“However, sometimes the baby eats more and sometimes less, especially when he is unwell. It’s better to just listen to his needs,” Katie explains.
Is breastmilk sufficient for the first six months?
Yes. Breast milk contains everything a baby needs for the first 90,263 six months of life—exclusively breastfed babies don't even need to drink more water! 5 Until about six months of age, the child's digestive system is simply not adapted to the digestion of solid food, and he will be able to drink cow's milk only after a year.
In addition, breastfeeding during this period prepares the child for further development. It strengthens the muscles of the mouth, develops the jaw and helps straighten the teeth 6.7 . All this will come in handy when the baby begins to eat and talk. And because what you eat and drink affects how your breast milk tastes, your baby discovers new tastes even before he starts eating solid foods. 8
In addition, when your baby is sick, your body produces breast milk that is
rich in antibodies that help fight infection. 9 In other words, milk continues to protect the baby for many months as it grows and becomes more active.
Breastfeeding is also very comfortable once you get used to it. Claudia, a mother of two from the UK, notes: “No need to sterilize a mountain of bottles, prepare formula, carry it all with you, warm it up - in general, breastfeeding turned out to be very convenient, especially when my babies grew up and we began to leave the house more often. ".
At what age does a breastfed baby start sleeping through the night?
Waking up at night is normal for babies. Most babies between the ages of one and six months consume a fifth of their daily milk requirement at night, so nighttime feedings should not be neglected if you want your baby to get the required amount of calories. 3
"It really depends on what you mean by 'sleep through the night,'" says Cathy. "And it's better than waking up every two hours anyway! I have met infants who, starting at six weeks old, fell asleep at 19:00 and woke up at 7:00, but most continue to wake up frequently at night after this age. All children are different."
In Wales, a study of over 700 babies found that almost 80% of children aged 6 to 12 months wake up at least once a night, and 25% of them wake up three times or more. And it did not depend on what type of feeding the child is on - breastfeeding or artificial. 10
And if nighttime awakenings are unavoidable anyway, breastfeeding is at least comfortable! Maina, a mother of two from Australia, agrees: “You can even take a nap while feeding in the middle of the night - both the body and the baby do their job on autopilot. No need to plan, measure, sterilize anything - ready-made food at the right temperature is right in your chest. I think it's ideal."
My child wakes up more often. Perhaps he is hungry?
Around four months of age, a baby's sleep pattern changes as he, like an adult, develops deep and light sleep phases. Because of this, he may wake up more often at night. “At four months, sleep is more of a problem than feeding,” Cathy admits. “It can be exhausting, but try to adapt and be patient.”
Some call this " a four-month sleep regression ", but "progress" is more appropriate here. From the outside it may look like a step back, but in fact the child is approaching an important stage of development. He learns quickly, begins to become aware of the world around him, his perception is sharpened and, perhaps, there is anxiety about being separated from his mother. Crying when waking up and being able to eat milk cuddled up to mommy’s chest is a way for a baby to calm down. 11–13
Resist the urge to “supplement” your baby with formula or start solid foods early
in an attempt to improve his sleep. Breast milk contains
hormones that make you sleepy and help you both relax
. Studies show that breastfeeding mothers actually sleep longer at night than mothers of formula- or formula-fed babies
How does teething affect breastfeeding?
Teething usually begins around four months of age. When a baby has gum pain, he becomes restless, throws his chest and cries. All this, of course, is unpleasant.
However, breastfeeding can be an excellent sedative.
Studies have shown that babies who are breastfed
during the vaccination period cry less and forget pain more quickly. 15 Breastfeeding during teething can have the same calming effect.
An unpleasant side effect may be the child's attempts to try out his new teeth on the mother's breast. “Sometimes children flirt and bite their mother’s nipples. This can be felt in advance by how the behavior of the child changes when feeding: before biting, he removes his tongue, explains Cathy, “Usually this is not a problem and only happens a couple of times. It is enough to stop feeding, affectionately say that biting is not good, and the baby will soon leave this fun.
How to continue feeding if you have to be separated from the baby?
It happens that during the first six months, when the baby is still fully breastfed, the mother needs to be away for several hours - or even longer if she has to go to work or go away on business for a couple of days.
But this does not mean that you should stop breastfeeding. You can still feed your baby healthy breast milk - just express it and have someone give it to your baby when you're away. Here's Kathy's advice:
“Start expressing milk a couple of days in advance, in small batches, 40-60 ml at a time. So you will have the necessary supply for the time of your absence, but at the same time the amount of milk produced will remain the same.
If you have to return to work, check with your employer about your daily schedule. Many mothers breastfeed their babies in the morning, evening and night, and pump milk at lunchtime to relieve discomfort and create a reserve for the next day.
This usually turns out to be much easier than one might think, and today many companies are well placed to do this, notes Cathy. “Breast pumps make it easy to solve this problem.”
Natalie, mother from the USA, shares her experience: “I feed Dylan as soon as he wakes up, and sometimes again before leaving for work, in order to maintain milk production and not lose contact with the child. At work, I pump twice the next day (in my absence, he eats two bottles of breast milk), and after work I rush home for the evening feed. I don't pump on the weekends - we resume regular breastfeeding."
Is it possible to continue breastfeeding after the introduction of solid foods?
When your baby begins to show interest in food and can sit up on his own - usually around six months of age - it's time to start solid foods. However, it is not necessary to stop breastfeeding, Cathy explains: “A baby’s iron stores during pregnancy are depleted by six months, so he needs additional sources of this element.
Start complementary foods with solid foods, but remember that breast milk remains a more important source of calories and nutrients until the baby is eight to nine months old. By this time, he will be eating much more solid food, but he will still need to breastfeed four to five times a day. By 12 months, the frequency of feeding may be two to six times a day. All babies are different, and many of them at this age are still getting half their daily calorie intake from breast milk.”
Don't forget that breast milk can be added to solid foods such as cereals and purees so that the baby can taste familiar tastes. If possible, use milk expressed just before feeding (not thawed) and add just before serving to keep bacteria and nutrients alive. 16
You may be pressured by others to stop breastfeeding when your baby is six months old, but the longer you breastfeed or pump, the better for you and your baby.
How long can I continue breastfeeding?
“The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding along with solid foods until at least two years of age because it plays an important role in supporting immunity,” says Cathy. feels bad".
At eight months, the baby sometimes breastfeeds four times a day, but when he is one year old, the frequency of feedings can be reduced to two times a day. You yourself will understand which feeding regimen is more suitable for you and your baby. For example, Jane, a mother of two from the US, breastfed until the age of two: “I breastfed when I was at home - in the evenings and on weekends, when the children wanted to be close to me,” says Jane, “It helped a lot when they were sick . Breastfeeding has become my favorite form of comfort."
“When my son got a little older and bolder, he still often asked me to breastfeed him - as if to calm down and gain strength,” recalls Amy, a mother of two children from Canada, “When he happened to hit or skin his knee , breastfeeding was a wonderful way to comfort him. ”
If your baby is over a year old and you are still breastfeeding, people around you will probably tell you that this way he will never wean. But if children are not pressured, they usually refuse to breastfeed themselves between the ages of two and four. 17
“I didn’t intend to breastfeed for so long, but as a result, I still breastfeed my four-year-old daughter and 22-month-old son,” says Suzanne, mother of two from the UK, “I breastfeed my youngest before and after work, and in I express milk on business trips. The eldest daughter likes to breastfeed a little before bed or when she is upset - this is a great way to make contact. When I get tired of it, I remind myself what great benefit and comfort it brings them. I now plan to pursue a baby-initiated end breastfeeding strategy — let them decide when to stop.”
For more information on what to expect and lots of tips and tricks, see our guide Breastfeeding Problems After the First Month.
1 Ballard O, Morrow AL. Human milk composition: nutrients and bioactive factors. Pediatr Clin North Am . 2013;60(1):49-74. - Ballard O., Morrow A.L., "Composition of breast milk: nutrients and biologically active factors." Pediatrician Clean North Am. 2013;60(1):49-74.
2 Kent JC et al. Principles for maintaining or increasing breast milk production. 2012;41(1):114-21. - Kent J.S. et al., "Principles for Maintaining and Increasing Milk Production". J Obstet Ginecol and Neonatal Nurse. 2012;41(1):114-121. 9 et al . Volume and frequency of breastfeedings and fat content of breast milk throughout the day. Pediatrics. 2006;117(3): e 387-395. - Kent J.S. et al., "Amount and frequency of breastfeeding and fat content of breast milk during the day." Pediatrix (Pediatrics). 2006;117(3):e387-95.
4 Kent JC et al. Longitudinal changes in breastfeeding patterns from 1 to 6 months of lactation. Breast Med . 2013;8(4):401-407. - Kent J.S. et al., Longitudinal changes in breastfeeding patterns from 1 to 6 months of lactation. Brest Med. 2013;8(4):401-407.
5 Almroth S, Bidinger PD. No need for water supplementation for exclusively breast-fed infants under hot and arid conditions. Trans R Soc 1990;84(4):602-604. - Elmroth S., Bidinger P.D., "No need for supplementation of exclusively breastfed infants in hot, dry conditions." Trans R Sots Trop Med Hyg. 1990;84(4):602-604.
6 Victora CG et al . Breastfeeding in the 21st century: epidemiology, mechanisms, and lifelong effect. Lancet. 2016;387(10017):475-490. - Victor S.J. et al., "Breastfeeding in the 21st century: epidemiology, mechanisms and long-term effects". Lancet 2016;387(10017):475-490.
7 Peres KG et al. Effect of breastfeeding on malocclusions: a systematic review and meta - analysis. Acta Paediatr. 2015;104( S 467):54-61. - Perez K.G. et al., "The impact of breastfeeding on malocclusion: a systematic review and meta-analysis". Akta Pediatr. 2015;104(S467):54-61.
8 Mennella JA, Beauchamp GK. Maternal diet alters the sensory qualities of human milk and the nursling's behavior. Pediatrics. 1991;88(4):737-744. - Mennella, JA, Beauchamp, GK, "Maternal nutrition influences the organoleptic properties of breast milk and infant behavior." Pediatrix (Pediatrics). 1991;88(4):737-744.
9 Hassiotou F et al. Maternal and infant infections stimulate a rapid leukocyte response in breastmilk. Clin Transl immunology. 2013;2(4). - Hassiot F. et al., "Infectious diseases of the mother and child stimulate a rapid leukocyte reaction in breast milk." Clean Transl Immunology. 2013;2(4).
10 Brown A, Harries V. Infant sleep and night feeding patterns during later infancy: Association with breastfeeding frequency, daytime complementary food intake, and infant weight. Breast Med . 2015;10(5):246-252. - Brown A., Harris W., "Night feedings and infant sleep in the first year of life and their association with feeding frequency, daytime supplementation, and infant weight." Brest Med (Breastfeeding Medicine). 2015;10(5):246-252.
11 Infant sleep information source. [Internet]. Normal Infant Sleep Development; December 2017 [cited 2018 Feb] - All about baby sleep. [Internet] "The development of normal sleep in a child", December 2017 [cited February 2018].
12 Baby sleep science. [Internet]. The-Four-Month-Sleep-Regression-What-is-it-and-What-can-be-Done-About-it. March 2014 [ cited 2018 Feb ] - The science of baby sleep. [Internet], "Four-month sleep regression: what it is and what to do about it." March 2014 [cited February 2018].
13 The Myth Of Baby Sleep Regressions – What’s Really Happening To Your Baby’s Sleep? [Internet]. Pinky Mckay ; December 2017 [ cited 2018 Feb ] - "The Myth of Baby Sleep Regression - What's Really Happening to Your Baby?" [Internet]. Pinky McKay, December 2017 [cited February 2018].
14 Kendall - Tackett K ET AL0312 . The effect of feeding method on sleep duration, maternal well-being, and postpartum depression.