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Thread: Frequency & Duration Questions

  1. #1

    Default Frequency & Duration Questions

    I am looking for guidance with *how often* and *duration* for breastfeeding my 3 month old baby girl. Up until the past week or so, I would nurse 8-9 times a day, around 10-15 mins per breast (baby usually takes both breasts per feeding). Just recently, the feedings have decreased to 7 per day and the baby nurses on average 5 mins per breast. She fusses if I try and force her to nurse longer. It seems like she is still getting enough milk as she is spitting up quite a bit even with the fewer feedings and shorter durations.

    Here are my questions:

    1) Does the frequency and duration change each month? What should I expect from here on out?
    2) Is 5 mins per breast an acceptable feeding duration?
    3) Is my milk supply going to drop due to the decrease in frequency of feedings?
    4) How does longer sleep durations (6 + hours at night) effect milk supply?

    Age: 11 weeks (almost 3 months)
    Weight: 14.5 pounds (9.2 pounds at birth)
    Diapers: Has about 4-6 poopy diapers and always has wet diapers

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    266

    Default Re: Frequency & Duration Questions

    I am a newcomer to BFing - this is my first and he is 3.5 months old...But - from what I understand from my reading/research and meetings with IBCLCs - breast milk is constantly changing to meet the exact needs of the baby. Also, baby learns to nurse more efficiently than when they are newborns, so the duration can go down quite a bit. My LO only ever nursed 8-10 minutes total when he was a newborn, now he can finish up in about 3 minutes per side, sometimes he only wants one side. (One time the IBCLC weighed him before a feeding and after a 3-4 minute feeding and he had gained over 2 ounces, indicating he had taken in at least 2 ounces in just 3 minutes)

    Longer sleep durations will affect your supply - but they should affect it...if your LO is going to be sleeping 6-7 hours from here on out - you don't want to be full to the brim all the time. However, DS has been sleeping in 6-7 hour stretches for about 3 weeks now, but I still feel engorged most of the night. When he does wake to nurse about 2 am, he only nurses one side, so the other side usually leaks like crazy so I get a little relief.

    Basically, from what I know, your breastmilk is ever changing to be perfect for your baby all the time...and the older baby gets and the longer we nurse - the more precise our bodies get - therefore the more efficient both mommy and baby become.

    Hope this helps a little. I know it's not a link to a website, and I know I'm a newbie too...but I'm a research-a-holic on these things

    Good luck!
    Proud mama to Matthew Rory, born naturally 10/29/10, and mama to Callie Elisabeth, born naturally 5/15/12.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1,056

    Default Re: Frequency & Duration Questions

    Excellent advice from PP

    I will add two things:
    - My baby started waking up again after sleeping through the night around this age, just after I got my supply adjusted.
    - Sleeping longer than 6 hrs consistently w/o nursing can bring back fertility, even if your period hasn't returned, so be careful
    Little SW, Aug '09
    Miss MW, Jan '11
    Sir RW, Oct '12
    3 kids in 38 mos

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,944

    Default Re: Frequency & Duration Questions

    1) Does the frequency and duration change each month? What should I expect from here on out?
    You can expect things to change all the time, but there's no way to predict exactly how things are going to change. Your child may continue to decrease her feeding intensity, or she may increase it.

    When you introduce solid foods (probably around 6 months), your baby may start dropping feedings. Therefore you should be careful to always offer the breast before offering solids, to make sure the baby fills up on breastmilk. Since breastmilk is the healthiest and most balanced food a baby ever eats, you want her to maximize her intake of it.

    2) Is 5 mins per breast an acceptable feeding duration?
    Yes, as long as diaper output remains normal.

    3) Is my milk supply going to drop due to the decrease in frequency of feedings?
    Probably a bit. But don't think of it as a "drop"- think of it as an adjustment, instead. Your supply will adjust to meet your baby's needs. If she needs it to increase again, she'll nurse more and it will adjust upwards. Supply is very flexible as long as demand is unrestricted.

    4) How does longer sleep durations (6 + hours at night) effect milk supply?
    Your overnight supply will probably decrease significantly after a while. However, your body has a very sensitive internal clock. This allows your baby to train your body to make the right amount of milk for the time of day, simply by nursing on demand.

    As the PP said, going a 6 hour stretch at night without nursing significantly increases the chances that your fertility will return, if it hasn't already. So if you've been relying on breastfeeding for birth control, now is the time to choose and start using a back-up method!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: Frequency & Duration Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*snf777 View Post
    I am looking for guidance with *how often* and *duration* for breastfeeding my 3 month old baby girl. Up until the past week or so, I would nurse 8-9 times a day, around 10-15 mins per breast (baby usually takes both breasts per feeding). Just recently, the feedings have decreased to 7 per day and the baby nurses on average 5 mins per breast. She fusses if I try and force her to nurse longer. It seems like she is still getting enough milk as she is spitting up quite a bit even with the fewer feedings and shorter durations.

    Age: 11 weeks (almost 3 months)
    Weight: 14.5 pounds (9.2 pounds at birth)
    Diapers: Has about 4-6 poopy diapers and always has wet diapers
    Sounds like she's doing great!

    Here are my questions:

    1) Does the frequency and duration change each month? What should I expect from here on out?
    It changes constantly. And about all you can expect is that you won't know what to expect. It varies so much for different moms and babies that there's no way to tell what you "should" be doing. My SIL's baby was nursing 4 times a day at 6 months, while mine was still nursing 10 times a day at a year. If you nurse whenever she wants to nurse and for as long as she wants to nurse, it'll be the right amount. Although she may get to a point where she's so busy and interested in the world that she forgets she needs to eat. A dark, quiet room can help with that. The important thing is to offer frequently.

    2) Is 5 mins per breast an acceptable feeding duration?
    Yes. Some babies that age still need more time at the breast, while others will nurse 5 minutes on ONE side per feeding. They can get amazingly efficient. Again, let your baby lead the way and she'll get what she needs.

    3) Is my milk supply going to drop due to the decrease in frequency of feedings?
    Not really. Your baby is more efficient at nursing than she used to be and can get more milk in a shorter amount of time. Your breasts produce milk during feedings and will produce as much as she needs at that time.

    4) How does longer sleep durations (6 + hours at night) effect milk supply?
    Your supply regulates to how much and when your baby is nursing. When your baby first starts sleeping through the night, it can be really uncomfortable! But it doesn't stay that way. After a while your body gets to know when your baby is likely to want to nurse. It's pretty amazing actually.

    Again, it sounds like things are going really well. Keep doing what you're doing!
    Karen

    ~~~~
    My brilliant "babies":
    Butterfly - 13 yo - environmentalist
    NinjaBoy - 10 yo - stuntman

  6. #6

    Default Re: Frequency & Duration Questions

    Ladies, THANK YOU all so much for your very helpful replies, I really appreciate it!

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