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How Often Should I Breastfeed My Baby?

Babies have feeding cues that let you know when they want to feed before they start crying. Here are some of the cues to look out for:

  • Try to suck their hands
  • Start waking up by wriggling & turning
  • Become restless.

Early Weeks

  • Feed your baby as often, and for as long as they want
  • All babies have different feeding and sleeping patterns. Sometimes their feeds are close together and sometimes far apart
  • Feeding your baby frequently can help your milk come in and flow well
  • It is normal for newborns to have 8 to 12 feeds over 24 hours.

Early Months

At first, most babies prefer to feed and sleep without settling into a pattern. With time, they will get into a routine and feeding will become more predictable, your baby will become more efficient and won’t need to feed as long as in those first weeks.

How Long Will Each Feed Take?

  • There is no set time each feed will take, babies will feed for as long as it takes to get the milk they need. However as a rough guide, when starting to breastfeed each feed can take up to an hour, but as your baby matures this time will start to decrease
  • Let your baby decide when they have had enough. Your baby’s sucking will slow and they’ll usually become sleepy toward the end of a feed or when let-down has slowed
  • Offer your baby the other breast when they finish the first side or let-down has slowed. They might not want both breasts at each feed, so you should always alternate breasts at the beginning of each feed. This will ensure that each breast is drained regularly
  • Your baby may feed more often during growth spurts, common at weeks 3 and 6. Frequent feeds will help you produce more milk to satisfy their increased appetite. A baby that is gaining weight is getting enough milk.

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