|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Breast-Feeding Schedule

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Henry Bernstein, M.D.

Q: I have a three-week-old daughter. She seems to breast-feed every hour, and at night, it's worse. I am up from 12 midnight to 6 a.m. and then it seems she is ready to sleep in the morning. I'm also tired so I try to sleep while she is sleeping. Will she get on a better schedule, or do I need to make an adjustment?

A: First of all, it is wonderful that you are breast feeding as there are so many advantages for both you and your baby. Breast milk is the perfect food for the baby--it lowers the risk of having allergies and helps protect from infection. Besides forming a most special bond between you and your baby, breast feeding also helps your womb (uterus) to return to it's normal size more quickly and may help you lose some weight.

An infant generally regains her birth weight by two weeks of age and then gains four to eight ounces a week, doubling the birth weight by about four months of age. Babies tend to nurse at least eight to twelve times in a 24 hours period, having six to eight wet diapers and two to three bowel movements during the same time.

Now to answer your question. Try to relax! It does not sound like you need to make much in the way of adjustments at all. Your baby may just be having what has been called an "appetite spurt." These are times of crying and apparent gluttony on the part of an infant which usually occur at eight to twelve days, at three to four weeks, at three months of age, and at other times on occasion.

The best thing to do for this is actually more frequent nursing to increase your milk production to meet the changing needs of your infant. The more often you feed the baby, the more milk you will make. These spurts do not last forever and she should get on a better schedule.

I do recommend limiting a feeding to ten to fifteen minutes per breast, which helps prevent irritated nipples or infection of your breast. If you feel that the breast feeding is still not going well for you or the baby, I would contact your baby's doctor, as it is important to get the nursing back on track.

More on: Expert Advice

Henry Bernstein, M.D., is currently the associate chief of the Division of General Pediatrics and director of Primary Care at Children's Hospital, Boston. He also has an academic appointment at Harvard Medical School.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

8 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
Need some fun ideas for decorating Easter eggs with the kids? Look no further for colorful and cool designs!

7 Ways to Curb Kids' Exposure to Violence
American children are exposed to violence more often than you might think. Learn how to limit your child's exposure to violence and manage the mental health and behavioral effects it can cause.