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What is a normal nursing rhythm for a breastfeeding baby?

Kathy Snider
Neonatal Nursing

Nursing rhythm or nursing schedule is varied, depending on the age of the baby. A newborn should be nursing every 2-3 hours during the day, and every 3 hours at night, until the baby has gained back enough weight to be at, or above, their birth weight. After that, it usually depends on the baby, but most will nurse "on demand" or when they get hungry. this is usually eight to twelve times a day (24 hour period) for the first month. Your healthcare provider may want your baby to nurse every 2 hours because the baby was small, or had a low birth weight, or tell you to start trying to wake your baby up at the 2 hour time frame, so your baby nurses within the 2-3 hour time frame. Many babies will go through growth spurts, and require more feedings, which can leave a mother wondering if the baby is getting enough. If your baby is nursing well (has a good latch, and you can hear audible sucking and swallowing), is wetting at least 6-8 diapers a day (for the first month), and is gaining weight, then the baby is getting enough to eat. It is important to remember that breast milk supply is based on a supply and demand schedule, and the more your baby nurses, the more milk you will produce to nourish your baby.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.