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How Often Should I Breastfeed?

Learn how often you should breastfeed from lactation consultant Melissa K. Nagin in this Howcast video.


How often should I breastfeed? This is again one of these questions that you will hear very different answers coming from perhaps your pediatrician, a nurse, and then a lactation consultant.

Generally speaking, we want the baby to feed every two to three hours from the beginning of a feed. Yes, if that first feeding is 45 minutes long, it's not that soon after that you're going to have to feed again.

If a baby is doing well, they are peeing, they're pooping, they're waking and shooting up, and we are happy with all of these developmental milestones, then we can easily go to the three hour mark. With babies who are having a little bit more of a problem or slower gainers perhaps then we might want to just limit it to the two hours.

Are there babies who come back to the breast very frequently? Yes. Are there grazers that seem to nurse all day long? Yes.

But if you have a baby who is sleeping well enough, then the three hour mark from the beginning of the feed is really the limit during the day. Midnight to six you can go on demand, which means the baby wakes you up to feed. So if they give you one good four to five hour stretch in a 24-hour period, you should be very happy with that. And they will hopefully give that to you. Overtime they will extend that to longer and longer during the night. But during the day in general, we're looking at every three hours.

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