The answer to this question is  as often as the baby is willing. You should not wait for your baby to cry before putting him on the breast. Crying is usually a late sign of hunger. The child will indicate

his  desire to breastfeed long before he cries by doing the following :

  • Smacking his lips
  • Making suckling motions
  • Rooting,  which is moving his head around in search for your breasts
  • Kicking and squirming
  • Looking more alert

Your baby may give your these signs  as often as every hour or so in the early days of birth . The child should not go about 2 or 3 hours during the day or about 4 hours during the night without feeding. Even if you have to wake him up,  it is important that he receives 8 to 12 feedings every 24 hour period.


If the child doesn’t feed first upon being woken up, wait half an hour, wake him up and try again. Some babies will feed even if they are not wide awake so you don’t have to awaken them completely.


You will soon become familiar with your baby’s feeding style. However in the mean time feed him as long as possible during each feeding. Keep him at the breast as long as he’s actively feeding. Detaching a suckling baby from your breast before he’s finished or allowing him to fall asleep shortly after beginning to feed may throw off the breastfeeding rhythm of supply and demand.


Allow your baby to breastfeed until he seems full. At this point he will probably detach from the nipple himself. You have to keep in mind that the longer your baby breastfeeds , the higher the fat content of the milk he’s drinking. Giving your baby shorter nursing periods may not  give him the opportunity to enjoy the full benefits of your breastmilk  and may leave you feeling full and engorged.


Content Sources
How often to breastfeed.American Academy of Pediatrics. Accessed October 28th, 2018

Breastfeeding FAQs: How Much and How Often. Kids Health. Accessed October 28th, 2018

How Much and How Often to Breastfeed. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed October 28th, 2018

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