"I wish I had known that very frequent feeding is normal! That feeding almost constantly (or that's how it feels) for the first few weeks is normal, it doesn't mean baby isn't getting enough milk."
Frequent Feeding is normal
Some babies feed very often, some less. As long as your baby is growing and has nappies need changing regularly, frequent feeding - often more frequent than we are told they "should" be feeding - is normal.
It's easy to pick up the message that babies are supposed to feed after X number of hours, but those messages don’t come from from evidence of what we know about milk production and a newborn’s evolutionary behaviour.
Read on for loads more reassurance. But if you are concerned about your baby's growth or wellbeing, please see our 'Find Support' page, or visit your local healthcare centre.
“I wish I’d known that your boobs don't need to "fill up", so during growth spurts you can just keep giving each side, multiple times, it's fine and doesn't mean you have a low supply (in fact you are boosting your supply).”
By Prof Amy Brown and the College of Human and Health Sciences, Swansea University
It’s helpful to know that the more we remove milk from the breast, the more we make. Regular and effective stimulation in the early weeks helps establish milk supply for the months ahead.
Our breasts are not containers that are emptied and need to ‘refill’, they are streams where the flow is continuous (though it may sometimes slow down).
Milk supply is usually affected if we don’t remove milk effectively (such as when the baby has latching issues) or not frequently enough (such as when a mum is trying to restrict a baby’s time at the breast).
Emma Pickett IBCLC
"Some how, some where, new mothers got the message that the gap between when a baby stops a breastfeed and the time they start to need another one matters a very very great deal. 24 hours a day.
It seems to matter beyond all logic and reason. They see this magic number – 90 minutes, 2 hours, 3 hours – as a measure of something sacred.
And it’s crap.
There are mums sitting at home, relaxing and nesting with their gorgeous new baby. There’s a disk from a box set in the DVD player, a cup of tea on the go, a recent chat with a friend. Breastfeeding is going well. Weight gain is fine. Baby is content. But when baby shows hunger cues after only 40 minutes instead of the hoped for 1hr 30 minutes, their heart sinks and they feel a sense something is fundamentally wrong. They aren’t ‘doing it right’. Their friend’s baby ‘goes longer’. Doubts creep in..."
Prof Amy Brown/Honest Mum
"Breastfed babies feed lots, and I mean LOTS. If you listen to great aunty Mable she might tell you babies should be fed every four hours on the dot. Indeed, in the 1950s babies were brought from the nursery to their mother every four hours for a feed. You’ll still find books telling you this is how babies should feed. However, this advice, quite simply, is nonsense."
The National Childbirth Trust (NCT)
"It’s one of the most common worries in new parents: how do you know if your baby is well fed? Here are your questions answered…"
"For the most part, milk production is a “use it or lose it” process. The more often and effectively your baby nurses, the more milk you will make."