Mommy & Baby: Nursing Questions & Answers
by: Kirsten Hawkins
Q. How often should I nurse a newborn infant?
A. No fewer than 8 times per day, depending on how long he gives you
at night. If he can go 4 hours, youíll probably see two feedings in between
11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. If you tank him up right before you go to bed,
you may only have one.
Q. How often should I nurse an older baby?
A. Depending on your childís age, you should be on a 3-4 hour routine
during the day. Remember, as your child gets older, the frequency of nursing
sessions will drop off, but he will be eating more at each session. If
you are committed to nursing past 6 months of age, itís not recommended
that you drop below 5 feedings per day. If you believe your milk supply
is waning and you donít want to stop breastfeeding, add a feeding or two
to your daily routine in order to increase your milk supply
Q. How do I drop a feeding as my baby grows?
A. The most common changes are moms who want to switch from a 3 to a
3.5 hour routine or a 3.5 to a 4 hour routine, babies who are ready to
drop their middle of the night feeding, or parents who are ready to stop
the late-night feeding.
Most often youíll know when your baby is ready to switch by a change
in his sleep patterns. A baby on a 3 hour routine typically takes 3 naps
per day (morning, afternoon, late afternoon) and the switchover to a 3.5
hour routine will see a shortening of one of those naps or the dropping
of the last nap of the day. Babies are generally ready for this switch
by about 12 weeks of age.
Dropping the middle of the night feeding is most often accomplished
by the baby himself between 7-14 weeks of age. Youíll know your baby is
ready when he doesnít wake you up until 6:00 a.m. or so, and youíll probably
wake in a panic that morning, realizing you werenít beckoned in the middle
of the night. He will require more food during the day from this point
on, and your breasts will likely be overly full for several days, but itís
Stopping the late night feeding is typically the trickiest to do. Many
parents are reluctant to drop it, thinking that if they do, their baby
will wake in the middle of the night, starving. If you think he cannot
drop the feeding completely, back it up in 15-minute increments until you
arrive at your desired time. If his last two feedings of the day are closer
than your flexible schedule says it ďshould be,Ē donít worry. Itís a temporary
fix, and thatís what flexibility is all about. The routine serves you,
not the other way around!
About The Author
Kirsten Hawkins is a baby and parenting expert specializing new mothers
and single parent issues. Visit http://www.babyhelp411.com/
for more information on how to raising healthy, happy children.