How Often Should You Feed?

Most newborns will feed six to eight times in 24 hours. But some babies will be content with five feeds over this period.

There are a lot of variables in how a mother chooses to feed her newborn. Much will depend on lifestyle and work commitments and whether or not your are breast or bottle feeding.

Most newborns, however, will feed an average of six to eight times in 24 hours.

In researching this topic you will find a lot of material referring to "demand" or "schedule" feeding. Demand feeding is feeding your baby by breast or bottle whenever it is hungry. This could be anywhere from every two to six hours. The alternative, scheduled feeding, is to feed at set intervals, usually about every four hours.

As a mother you will receive varying and conflicting advice about the two approaches. Most mothers opt for a compromise between the two approaches.

For those women who are able to have their babies close to them throughout the day, this makes demand feeding possible and some professionals would argue, more preferable.
Other women find it easier to extend the time between feeds to at least three hours calculated from the time of the first feed to the time of the subsequent feed.

Respected British childbirth educator Sheila Kitzinger says that the frequency of feeds for a newborn baby is more important than the length.
She maintains that the main nutritional content of breastmilk is obtained during the first five to seven minutes of feeding. She writes: "This is why many shorter feeds with the baby dropping off to sleep inbetween is for many mothers and babies the perfect style of (breast) feeding in these first few weeks".

Night Feeding

During a night time feed, some parents find it easier to avoid turning the main light on. Instead a nightlight can be used. It is likely your baby may need changing and for ease, it may be useful to dress your baby in pyjamas with a zip front or a nightgown to avoid having to fiddle with buttons in subdued lighting.

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