On average, a newborn baby eats approximately every 2 to 3 hours once round the clock. That becomes around 8 to 12 times in 24 hours. Newborns have a small fist-sized stomach that gets empty after a poop or a pee. Moreover, breastmilk is easily digested; thus, a newborn baby needs to be fed frequently.
Sometimes, you may notice that your baby wants lots of short feeds over a few hours. And post, he sleeps at a stretch for long hours. This pattern of feeding is called cluster breastfeeding.
Here are some guidelines that every new mother can follow to ensure proper breastfeeding for newborns.
Nurse On Demand
The recommended way to feed your breastfed baby is on demand. Instead of sticking to a strict feeding schedule, it's best to stay flexible and feed your little one whenever they appear hungry. Breastfeeding your newborn when they show signs of hunger provides them with a sense of comfort and security.
On-demand feedings also help you increase your breast milk supply to meet your growing newborn's nutritional needs. Then, as your baby gets older, a more routine schedule may naturally evolve. You might even get to sleep longer at night.
Watch For Hunger Cues
Babies are unable to use words to let their mothers understand that they're hungry, but still they are smart enough to tell you that it's time to eat. A newborn is ready to have milk when they are:
Your baby may show you some or all of these signs of hunger. Initially, it can be difficult for you to identify, but as the days will pass by, you'll begin to recognize them more easily.
Stop When Your Baby is Full
Initially, breastfeeding your newborn as long as they stay is good. Continue to breastfeed until you notice the signs indicating your child is content.
This way, you can ensure your baby is getting enough breast milk at each feeding. Plus, it is said that breastfeeding the baby longer, stimulates milk production and helps to build up breast milk supply.
When To Call The Doctor
If, at any time, you feel that your newborn is not getting enough breast milk or is not breastfeeding well, contact your pediatrician. The doctor will check your baby to make sure he is gaining weight regularly.
The doctor can also answer your questions and help you feel more confident and comfortable about your newborn's breastfeeding schedule.