Breastfeeding frequency — The Bump
January 2016 Moms

Breastfeeding frequency

How often are your LOs nursing these days? Everything I read seems to be about newborns, and I'd love to get a sense of schedules/patterns for slightly older babies. 

My eight-week-old son is still eating 8-10 times a day. He's only getting up once or twice at night, which I love, but it means lots of frequent feeds in the evenings. I'm starting to look forward to being able to cook and eat dinner again without taking a break to feed him. I still have trouble with my babe's hunger cues at times, and I suspect sometimes I'm giving him the breast when really he just needs to be cuddled or helped to nap, and his dad could be doing that sometimes instead of me! 

Breastfeeding is starting to feel like such a pain, even with a relatively "easy" baby. I'm feeding on demand and not too interested in CIO or very precise parent-led schedules, but I'd love to look forward to less frequent feedings in the coming months. How often do your babies eat? Do you do anything to encourage longer stretches between nursing sessions?


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Re: Breastfeeding frequency

  • LO is 9 weeks and still nursing every two hours when he's awake.  He usually gets up 2-3 times at night as well.  I'm very much looking forward to longer stretches since it still takes an hour to feed him.
    Littlebirdey92212Mamabeagle
  • My little one is nursing every 3 hours during the day and gets up at most once at night.  She eats 6 times in a 24 hour period, sometimes only 5
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  • l4rkl4rk member
    My LO is 8 weeks and she nurses every 1-2 hours, with the exception of a single 4 hour sleep stretch at night and a 3-4 hour nap in the day. I estimated yesterday that she's still nursing about 10 times a day most days. 
    essentialpeaceambercakes92
  • 11 weeks, nurses every 3-4 hours during the day, sleeps through the night. I count usually 6 feedings! 
  • LO is 9 weeks and eats every 2-3 hours during the day (it's usually more towards 3 though) and every 3-4 hours through the night. I count about 8 feedings a day.
  • My 8 week old gets a bottle during the day and nursed at night. She eats every 2-3 hours round the clock. Breast milk digests super easy, so they get hungry more frequently.
  • Every two hours here and she's up about twice a night to eat. They slowly start to spread out feeds and it gets a lot better once they start solids as well.
  • 10 weeks, she feeds roughly 7-8 times a day. Sometimes less sometimes more, I feel like I do give boob as an answer when fussy or upset (gassy issues that really really upset her at times) so really "eating" feeds I would say 6-7. One to two night feeds is where she's at too which is nice for SO and I to clean and relax together. 
  • 9 weeks old and every 2-3 hours here. Pretty much around the clock... We are still at 8-10 feedings a day. 
  • mamadcbmamadcb member
    edited March 2016
    Mine eats on demand and I've been paying much more attention to his sleep frequency so I can't answer definitively. However, he eats between each nap no matter what the duration and once overnight. I count 7-8 feeds per day.

    Eta LO is almost 10 weeks
  • BEWx2BEWx2 member
    8 weeks and feeding every 2-3 hours during the day, sometimes even more frequently and then 2-3 times during the night. 
  • 8 weeks and feeding 5-7 times a day. He sleeps an 8-10 hour stretch starting around 730/8 pm then wakes to eat between 4-6 am. Back to sleep for a few more hours then usually nurses every 2-3 hours throughout the day. With DS1, seems like he was nursing constantly still at this age and DS2 much less. I think I'm not as quick to offer the breast this time (aka busy with a toddler, so if it's been less than 2 hours since the start of the last feeding I try to make him wait by offering the pacifier, swing, baby wearing, etc. 
  • 11 weeks and still at 8-10 feedings a day, sometimes 12. He eats every 2-3 hours during the day, then tends to tank up in the evening before his 4-6 hour stretch of sleep and he only wakes up the once at night. He started out in the 13th percentile so he is still catching up a little bit on the weight gain. 
  • DS eats every 2 hours, sometimes more often during the day. I nurse on demand which has turned into a lot of comfort nursing too. He only eats for 5 to 10 min at a time so I don't know if he's just really efficient or if that's part of why he's looking for the boob so frequently. I haven't done anything to try to space out his feedings and probably won't. I do wish I could get away from comfort nursing him constantly especially since I am going back to work soon, but it's the only thing that works.
    ambercakes92
  • My lo eats every 2 hours during the day and is 10 weeks. It's frustrating but he's growing and starting to sleep a little longer at night now. 
  • Thank you for starting this thread! I too felt like I was feeding her too often (feeding on demand here); however, it seems we are pretty average. LO is 9.5 weeks feeds every 2-4 hours, goes to bed at 10 with a wake/eat around 3:15 and again around 6:30. She does not love naps but is starting one around 12 each day. If she sleeps for a long period, I let her do it and feed when she wakes. 
    Hipshaker
  •  I do wish I could get away from comfort nursing him constantly especially since I am going back to work soon, but it's the only thing that works.
    Same thing! I worry about going back and her not being able to calm down another way with someone else
  • LO will be three months this Friday. We are feeding around 6-7 times every 24 hours. It used to be 8-10 until we started doing sleep eat play routines. 
    l4rkklbh
  • Violet is 12wks and eats 5-7 times a day.  Last week it seemed like mostly 5 times and her weight gain was a little less than ideal (3.5 ounces in a week) so I got a little more aggressive about making sure it was at least 6 times a day.  The ped told me to aim for a minimum of 6.  She was just sleeping a lot, but I am not messing with the night time stretch, just nudging her to wake up and eat during the day.  We have breastfeeding group today, which includes a weigh in, so I'll see if that extra feed this week helped increase the weight gain.
  • 11.5 weeks and she's around 7-8 a day too. She goes to sleep in the 7:30 to 8:30 range and wakes up around 1 or 2 to nurse, sleeps another few hours until 4 or 5 and nurses and I put her back for a small sleep as I get ready for work, get her up for a small feed around 7, then drop her off at daycare where she will eat usually 3 times during the day. Once I get her home, she usually nurses for 2 bigger/longer feedings or a series of very short little comfort feedings before bed. BF is definitely more physically demanding than I ever thought! 
  • 10 weeks and eats every 2-3 hours during the day and about twice at night plus a dream feed.
    Hipshaker
  • klbhklbh member
    After reading some of these posts, I started doing a loose eat-play-sleep routine with my little guy, and it's working great! I've been shocked with how happily he'll go to sleep if I rock him for a few minutes and then put him in his crib with his pacifier. Obviously if he doesn't settle well with his pacifier and seems hungry, I feed him again, but he usually does great. And it's such a relief that now my husband can put him to sleep just as well. He's been eating about 6 to 8 times a day rather than 8 or 10. It makes me a little nervous, but he seems to be eating for longer at each feed and still has plenty of wet and dirty diapers, so I'm trying to trust he'll be ok. I've also been experimenting with putting him down earlier at night rather than doing tons of comfort feeding for evening fussiness.

    It's doing wonders for my mental state. I had been fantasizing about switching to formula just for the sake of being able to have time to myself and share childcare more equally with my husband, but I'm feeling a lot more positive now. Hoping his good moods and good weight gain will stick around. 
  • For those of you doing eat/play/sleep, how do you handle short naps? My LO goes down well for multiple 45-60 minute naps per day, and according to this routine I should feed him upon waking each time. Is that even if he's not acting hungry? Because of his short naps I would certainly not be extending the time between his feeds, which other systems suggest. (He is gaining weight like a champ and sleeping 6-8 hour stretches at night, so I'm not concerned about those things at the moment.)
  • klbhklbh member
    I just started and am making this up as I go along, so hopefully others will weigh in too! I've just been offering him the breast soon after waking. Sometimes he just has a tiny snack. If he's not hungry, I don't push it. For me the benefits have been prioritizing sleep in addition to feeding, and not feeding to sleep so others can do more childcare.
  • My baby eats every 60-90 minutes during the day for 6-10 minutes at a time and then only eats once between 7/8pm-6am.  
  • mamadcb said:
    For those of you doing eat/play/sleep, how do you handle short naps? My LO goes down well for multiple 45-60 minute naps per day, and according to this routine I should feed him upon waking each time. Is that even if he's not acting hungry? Because of his short naps I would certainly not be extending the time between his feeds, which other systems suggest. (He is gaining weight like a champ and sleeping 6-8 hour stretches at night, so I'm not concerned about those things at the moment.)
    We do more of an eat-play-sleep-play-sleep & repeat since LO takes short naps. Just adding in an extra play and sleep. Seems to be working well, though sometimes she is stubborn and doesn't do enough of her sleeps because of her FOMA (fear of missing out). 
    ChrissyD1203mamadcb
  • My little guy (13weeks) feeds 9 times a day, pretty much everyday. He goes 1.5 hours to 3 hours between feedings during the day, and just started sleeping through the night so has subbed out his 3am feed for an extra before bed feeding (so usually 3 feedings in 3.5 hours before 9ish bedtime!). He's gaining weight like a champ but I do look forward to the day when he starts nursing less times per day. His frequency has been basically the same since birth! 
  • Can we open this discussion back up? I'm curious to see how things are changing (or not) for everyone else. My LO is currently eating between 5 and 7 times per day, including nighttime feeds. He still takes his time eating (25-30 min) but since it's fewer times per day I suppose he's getting more efficient. How about everyone else?
  • nackienackie member
    Between daycare bottles and nursing, mine does 6 during the day.  I'm still nursing to sleep, so the number of nighttime feeds varies based on how often he's up, but that mostly for comfort rather than hunger.
  • jodiedrich18jodiedrich18 member
    edited June 2016
    I would say 6 or 7 normally depending on the day. Usually 2 in the morning before work with 1 MOTN and one around 4 or 5 which I stay up to get ready at that point, 3 at daycare and at usually 2 short ones in the evening. Nighttime amounts vary as I too nurse to sleep but 2 feedings is her typical since coming off over a month of 2-3 hour waking and feedings at night.
  • I breastfeed and pump once or twice per day when I'm working. We're doing 7 feedings fairly consistently. Basically every 3 hours and then we skip one at night once shes asleep (goes 6 hours without eating). Last night she had an extra at around 9PM because it was the only way to calm her and get her back to sleep  :/
  • I'm with everyone else, daycare days it's around 6. Days I am off with her, I just feed on demand and usually don't keep track of how many. Maybe 7ish? Maybe more? Not sure. When I'm at work though, I pump every three hours equalling 6-7 times/day between pumping and feeding. 
    claireloSC
  • We are at 18 weeks and she is fed about every three hours or sooner. She is going through a four month sleep progression at night and a slight regression with naps. She is giving us cues when she is ready to sleep at night (anywhere 6-8), if earlier end there is a dream feed, if later then not. Generally somewhere around 4-6 we have a feed as well. 
  • kaym6kaym6 member
    edited June 2016
    My guy still eats 8 sometimes 9/10 times a day! But only for 5-10 minutes at a time on one side as I have an oversupply! These are all usually (for now he's always changing) but recently between 5am and 6pm with none MOTN. I have noticed if I am home he likes to nurse a lot more Than if we are out and about though. 

    Edited to add he was just over 16lbs at 4 months! 
    kailaann1
  • We put LO on a schedule at 12 weeks and it's been glorious. So he eats 5 times during the day (7, 10, 1, 4 & just before bed at 6:45ish) then once or twice through the night, though lately it's been more often twice. Basically every 3 hours except skips one between 7pm & 1am. He is EBF, currently 19 weeks and 16lbs
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  • klbhklbh member
    edited June 2016
    We're down to about 6 or 7 too, depending on night wakeups. He eats roughly every 3 hours during the day (so 6:30, 9:30, 12:30, 3:30, 6:30) and has a dreamfeed before I go to bed around 10 or 10:30. Sometimes he wants to eat around 3am, but the last few days he's woken briefly around then but fallen asleep right away with his pacifier and not woken up for several hours, which makes me think he was waking more from habit than hunger. 

    I feel dumb admitting this, but I'm having trouble reading his hunger cues now. He's always chewing on his hands/toys/blankets, but I think that's just about exploration at this point. And the sounds of his cries have changed, so he doesn't do the cute little newborn "neh" anymore, which was a dead giveaway. He never quite turns down the breast (though he does the bottle), but if I offer it very frequently (which I was doing when we were out and about in hot weather over Memorial Day weekend, because I was worried about dehydration), he'll take a few sips but be very distractable, popping off all the time to look around. I make sure to offer whenever he wakes up or if it's been three hours since he last ate, but honestly, he rarely seems to fuss out of hunger except mid-bottle when DH pauses to burp him. He's gaining steadily and having plenty of wet diapers, so I'm not worried, but I feel kind of silly for not being able to read him and mostly following the clock instead. I didn't really mean to be scheduling his feeds, but we've kind of fallen into that. He is happy to take more expressed milk from bottles now when DH is watching him (usually 4-6 oz now versus just 2 or 3 before), so maybe he's just ready to space out his feedings even more and I've been feeding him before he gets especially hungry? 
  • @klbh I can't read her hunger cues anymore either, and my guess is because she's now used to this schedule so she doesn't really freak out anymore, knowing she's going to get milk consistently. She put herself on this schedule too a while back when she gave more hunger cues. If I try to feed her any sooner, she usually just pops on and pops off right away and looks around. LO is still little so I'm not going to space out her feedings anytime soon, I think we are both happy with this schedule for a while. 
  • My 20 week old wakes up around 8 so we usually do 8, 10, 12, 2, 4, 6, then 8 (bedtime). She still wakes up 2-3 times a night to eat. I know by this time they usually eat every 3 hours but she can't go more than 2 during the day!
  • klbhklbh member
    @Caressa1 I found this info graphic a while ago About milk storage capacity. It helped me understand why there's so much variation in nursing frequency at all ages. 

    https://www.nancymohrbacher.com/blog/2014/1/17/infographic-on-breast-storage-capacity.html

    @fishee333 I actually really like the schedule! It suits my personality to have a more predictable structure for the day. I just feel self-conscious about not feeding about demand. But it's not like I try not to feed him when I know he's hungry! 
    nackiefishee333KFrob
  • Cool infographic! We feed about 7 times per day. I guess we feed on demand, but because I can't read cues very well either, I offer it every two hours, or more if she's unhappy. She really only cries when she's hungry or tired, so I do one of the other depending on how long it's been since the last time. 
    Baby Birthday Ticker TickerMarried DW <3 08.2013; AI 2x; IUI 6x; IUI #7 05.2015; DD born 2.2016 o:); Reciprocal IVF FET #1 on 11.18.2020 
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