Once your little one has entered the world, their need for breastfeeding will seem endless. You might feel like you’ve literally become a milk bar. In the first month, they will be demanding milk over 8-12 times a day – sometimes more! Basically, you’ll be feeding around the clock. This leaves you little time between each feed to change them, do any household chores, or eat something yourself sometimes. If you’re wondering what is to be expected and how long breastfeeding will go on for, we have a few answers for you.
How often wIll my baby feed?
As you’ve probably realised by now, at first it will be around 8-12 times a day. For most babies, this frequency will last up to a month. They’re hungry often because the breastmilk is very easy to digest and doesn’t take too much for them to feel full. You’ll hear the cries for milk kick in around 1-3 hours.
Your newborn won’t go any more than 4 hours without feeding, even if it’s in the middle of the night! Once they reach the one month mark, the feedings will typically go down to 7-9 times a day.
How long does each feeding last?
On average, your little one may take around 20-30 minutes to nurse (and often much longer in those early days and weeks). The feeds can vary in length depending on your milk flow, milk supply, your baby’s latch, and their feeding skills. As they gain more practice and grow, the time may go down to approximately 7-10 minutes per side.
When will feeding end?
You’ve likely already heard that it’s beneficial to continue breastfeeding for the first 6 months. However, if it’s working well for you and your baby is growing happy and healthy, you can continue for up to 12 months and beyond. There are numerous benefits from breastfeeding so definitely keep it up if you can!
Every baby is different so they might require different lengths of breastfeeding. If they’re feeding less than 7 times a day or you’re worried at all, contact your doctor or midwife. Otherwise, expect to be a constant milk machine for the first 6 months at least.
Breastfeeding can be hard, so hang in there if you can and remember it’s a beautiful way to bond with your baby and they will be getting the best possible nutrients.