Indian Baby Care
Baby Feeding
Breast Feeding
The First Breastfeed
Benefits of Breast milk
Baby Allergy Watch
Checklist of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding after a Caesarean
Feeding your Baby
Feeding Difficulties
Frequency of Feeds
The Latch-On
Food Menu
Preparing the Feed
Preventing Babies from Infection
Producing Breast Milk
Sterilising Bottles
Progressing Weaning
Teat Tips
Commercial Baby Foods
Tips for weaning
Weaning Diet for 7-9 months baby
Baby Feeding » Frequency of Feeds
The length of a baby's feeds varies from one baby to another; it is dependent on the speed by which your baby can drink and the ease of your milk flows. If you have breastfed a baby before you may find the feeds are shorter with this baby since your milk may be flowing faster. So, the feed may take only a few minutes or as long as 30 minutes per breast. During the first part of a breastfeed your baby is taking foremilk, which is thirst, quenching but not very high in calories. After a few minutes of sucking you may feel a tingling in the breast that is the letdown reflex sending the hind milk to the breast. This milk is rich in calories and will fill your baby up. Always start a feed with alternative breasts to ensure he gets enough hind milk otherwise you may find he is always hungry.
Only your baby knows how much colostrums and milk he needs and whether he will latch onto one breast or two at any particular feed. Always offer the second breast when your baby come off the first on his own - whether he takes it or not is his decision and may vary from one feed to another. A good time to change his diaper is when he comes off the first breast. This will give him time to recover and be ready for the second breast. If he's contented, he will turn away from the second breast and may even sleep through his nappy change.
The number of feeds a baby has varies from one to another. He may have small, frequent feeds or may prefer to have one long feed followed by two short ones. Some babies sleep 5-6 hours at a stretch during the night while others will wake even 2 hours for feeding. You may even find that you have just settled into a routine when your baby suddenly starts wanting more frequent feeding. This is usually due to a growth spurt and if you have decided to let your baby determine how often he is fed it is best just to go with the flow. Because milk production works on a supply and demand basis, the more frequently your baby demands feeding the more milk you will supply. Therefore if he is going through a particularly hungry phase it will be over sooner if you just feed him more often. When this happens makes sure you are eating well and getting plenty of rest since frequent feeding can be exhausting. There is no need to time the length of feeds nor do you have to change breasts after a set period of time. Let your baby decide how long he wants to feed from each breast.