December 13, 2018


What is normal and what is "frequent" when breastfeeding?

Being a new mother often comes with its share of surprises and challenges as well. It may feel overwhelming in the beginning, but with time, everything falls to an even pace, and it even starts to be enjoyable. New mothers typically feel like they are being bombarded with a huge responsibility that comes with a lot of new things that they are supposed to remember but as time passes, some become routine and others play themselves out easily..... Such responsibilities can include breastfeeding and shopping for little sets and accessories if you know your way around.

It is a rule of nature that every child has to be breastfed, especially during the moments that follow after birth. This is because breastmilk is the only food substance that their tiny digestive systems can take in at that time. Babies also tend to feed very frequently, sometimes even twice every hour and this may worry their mums. Here is an explanation for the feeding pattern on the first three days after birth:

  1. On the first day after birth, babies usually have a stomach capacity of about 7ml. They also take in approximately the same amount every time they feed. This means that they will need to feed often.
  2. On the second day, the baby will start feeding less as their tummy capacity increases. They can hold more colostrum for longer periods, and therefore, take longer to feed.
  3. On the third day, the size of your baby’s tummy is still increasing, which means that they will take in more milk each time they breastfeed. You will notice that their sleeping periods also become significantly longer.

It may also not be easy to tell when your baby is hungry. Sadly, many mothers do not notice the signs that their babies show when they are hungry and starve them until they start crying persistently. Here are some signs to look out for to know whether your baby is hungry:

  1. The rooting reflex; the baby will move their mouth towards anything that moves or touches them.
  2. The baby may try to suck on their lips
  3. He may open his mouth as if trying to gulp on something.
  4. Random movement of the head from side to side
  5. The baby may also try to nuzzle against the mom’s breast.
  6. Older babies (toddlers) may suck on their fingers or direct anything they touch towards their mouths.

The baby’s feeding intervals are counted from the time they begin to nurse to the next time they start to nurse again. Counting these intervals will help you notice a pattern in their feeding behaviour which will be useful in determining the next time your little one should breastfeed.

If your baby is unable to breastfeed in the first few days or weeks after birth, remember to express milk to keep your breast stimulated to produce some milk. Normally, the suction that the baby puts on the breast as he sucks stimulates it to produce enough milk for the next feed. If you are having some issues or need assistance, you can administer an electric breast feeding pump. Meanwhile, be sure to reach out to your nurse or midwife to fund out why the baby is having difficulties with feeding.


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