Do babies need to be fed on a schedule? Absolutely not! All babies are different and so are all mothers. Babies feed best when they are hungry. Feeding your baby when they cue to feed, helps mothers maintain a good milk supply and ensures that your baby will be satisfied and gain weight normally. Placing them on a strict schedule may lead to low milk supply. Babies most often will feed every 1 to 3 hours and should have a minimum of 8 feeds in a 24 hour period. Your baby should be having at least 6 wet diapers and 3-5 loonie-sized or 1-3 large yellow stools per day in the first 4-6 weeks.
Some cues that your baby may show when they are ready to feed are:
- Increase in sucking movements
- Sucking on hands or hands to mouth
- Rooting (turning head and sucking)
- Clenched fingers or tight fists over tummy
Crying is a late stage of hunger and babies may find it difficult to latch. Keeping your baby close will help you identify their feeding cues.
Babies that are full will come off the breast on their own, may fall asleep and have their fingers and arms open and look relaxed. This is a sign that your baby has had enough.
It is always best to watch your baby and not the clock when it comes to feeding your baby!
Questions? Call your health care provider or the CKPHU Healthy Growth and Development Intake Line at 519-352-7270 x2903.