How many times a day should you breastfeed the baby? The answer is that there isn’t one answer that is right for everyone.
In the first few weeks, everything changes very fast, and there is no need to try and schedule specific timing for breastfeeding but rather adjust yourself to your baby. Even if during the first two days, the frequency of breastfeeding is low, it will commonly rise in the following days to more than 8 times a day. During the first days, even if the baby breastfeeds every hour, it is not too much. The more the baby breastfeeds, the more milk you produce as a result and your body knows how to adjust itself to your baby. After two weeks, the frequency usually goes down to 6-8 times a day.
How do you know that the baby is eating enough?
Even though there isn’t any accurate tool to measure how much exactly your baby breastfeeds, there are a few signs you can look for to know that he is eating enough:
He breastfeeds at least 6 times a day.
During breastfeeding, you can see movements of sucking and swallowing.
His skin has a normal color.
When he is awake he is calm but not too sleepy.
His diaper is wet. In the first two days, the diaper should be wet only 2-3 times a day, but in the following days - at least six times a day.
The baby is gaining weight. It is completely normal to lose weight in the first few days of life compared to the birth weight (but not more than 10%), but the baby should regain his birth weight in no more than 10 days.
When you are breastfeeding, you should feel comfortable and free of pain. The breast should feel softer and less full after the baby finishes breastfeeding. If it is not the case, consult your doctor or a lactation consultant.
Last updated: May 2017
Dr. Yair Sadaka MD PhD, pediatrician, Pediatric neurologist