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How long will I need to breastfeed my new born 2/3 hourly

(26 Posts)
Chi2011 Fri 02-Sep-11 17:08:15

I have a dd who is nearly 3 weeks old. 2/3 hourly breastfeeding and lack of sleep is draining me already. I need to know that there is a light at the end of this tunnel and was wondering if someone could tell me how long before she gets to feed 4 hourly. My dd is also asleep alot of the time during the day and awake at night when will her sleeping pattern change so she will sleep more at night?

OnlyWantsOne Fri 02-Sep-11 17:09:08


well done for doing so well smile

Cosmosis Fri 02-Sep-11 17:12:25

It shouldn’t be much longer at all before she starts to get night and day the right way round, and hopefully get some longer stretches going at night. Then it is a good idea to try and feed as much as you can in the day to tank them up for the night – especially the evening cluster feeds. Try to get the 4 hourly thing out of your head though, babies have tiny tummies so do need to feed often. None of the ff babies I know fed 4 hourly either.

Are you resting whenever you can in the day? I know it’s a cliché, but do try and sleep when she does.

You're doing a great job smile

ParkerRocks Fri 02-Sep-11 17:21:46

For me from 4 weeks things got so much easier so hang in there! It was as if all of a sudden DD worked out day from night! However, she doesn't feed 4 hourly still-during the day it's every 2.5-3 hours, and at times will feed a good 45 mins still! She started dropping the middle of night feed at 6 weeks, so has a late night feed and early morning feed, sometimes going 7 hours or more, I'm sure this is because she feeds so well in the day!

Good luck, given a couple of weeks I'm sure you'll find it easier going

lindsell Fri 02-Sep-11 17:28:32

Every baby is different, with my Ds he dropped a couple
of the night feeds at about 8wks and was then sleeping cmidnight-7ish but he continued feeding at least every 2hrs and sometimes more often during the day until he was 11mths (he much preferred bfing than solids til then!) but as he was sleeping for 7hrs at night it didn't bother me.

lilham Fri 02-Sep-11 18:54:50

Mine dropped all the night feeds suddenly at 11-12wo. Shes still feeding every 2 hrs in the day tho. I just get good at feeding out in public. And also where all the bf rooms in town are since DD gets so distracted now shes near 6mo.

But I do know mums in my group still having 2 night feeds at 5mo. And that's both bf and ff babies. sad

It'll get easier. Get all the help you can and enjoy your new baby.

RitaMorgan Fri 02-Sep-11 19:20:38

I always tried to distinguish day and night by keeping everything bright and noisy and ds napped in the living room during the day - woke him if he'd been asleep 3 hours. Then at night kept it dark and quiet and fed him lying down in bed.

He rarely went more than 2.5 hours between day feeds til he was at least 6 months old, but was doing an 8 hour stretch at night by 8 weeks (not that it lasted!). Co-sleeping and feeding lying down really helped at night, you can doze through feeds.

Tryharder Fri 02-Sep-11 22:25:28

Most adults don't go 4 hours without food and drink so you can't really expect a baby to.

The beauty of bf an older baby is that they may still feed very frequently but the feeds are often very short as the baby gets more efficient and stronger.

I used to feed my DD every 1 - 2 hours but the feeds might last less than 5 minutes at a time so a doddle really.

tiktok Fri 02-Sep-11 22:29:16

It's often easier to go with what a young baby seems to want to do, than to try and change these perfectly normal needs - in fact 2-3 hourly feeding at 3 weeks is only about 10 feeds in 24 hours which is really, really, really not all that often, honest smile

Few babies ever settle on a 4 hrly pattern anyway, and in fact most human beings eat/drink more often than this smile

It would be typical for your baby to develop longer gaps at night as she grows, and to have periods of cluster feeding at other points. When she feeds at night, think of ways you can do it while dosing and think about co-sleeping, too, safely, so she can do it with minimum disturbance to you.

MonkeeMummy Sat 03-Sep-11 14:01:25

Hi, Just an idea but I feed every three hours during the day, starting at 6.30am, express twice in the morning to get 6oz of milk. I use the milk to give 2 top-ups; one at 6.30-7pm and another at 10-11pm. At these feeds, I let DD take as much milk as she wants from the breast, give her a short break (nappy change, bath etc) then give her a 3oz top-up before putting her down.

I've used this plan with all my 3 children because it ensures I get the evening off and my LO will go 4-6hrs (sometimes longer at night). My baby is only 2.5 weeks (and because I was unwell after giving birth, it took her a couple of weeks to regain her birth weight) I discussed feeding with my H.V who said (and I strongly agree) that is vital that you get some rest at night. For this plan to work, you do need to tank them up at each feed and make sure you feed every 3hrs during the day. Best wishes for a good night's sleep - it is possible, I promise.

Blobby11 Mon 05-Sep-11 18:14:31

Sorry to hijack the thread but very interested in MonkeeMummy's post.

I have a 3 week old and I'm BF every 3 hours during the day but finding that my supply drops off towards the end of the day and I have to top up with formula at the 7pm (ish) and 10pm (ish) feeds.

I would love to ditch the formula and use expressed milk for the top ups but I'm a bit unsure how to go about things because I've previously struggled with expressing. My DS empties both breasts at each feed so don't know when I should be expressing.

MonkeeMummy when you express twice in the morning do you do so immediately after a feed or inbetween feeds. Also do you express for a certain amount of time or just as long as it takes to get the amount you need?

Thanks smile

RitaMorgan Mon 05-Sep-11 18:31:29

Instead of topping up in the evenings can you not feed more frequently? Or indeed feed from more than two sides each feed. 3 hours seems like quite a long time for a 3 week old to go between feeds.

numpls Mon 05-Sep-11 19:52:44

my son from 3 weeks started to feed every 3hrs which i was quite glad of hes now 5months. Has anyones baby when they turned 4months started waking up alot for a feed as still doing it is it a case he may be hungry now even though hes not to be weaned until hes 6months?

Blobby11 Mon 05-Sep-11 21:28:54

Hi RitaMorgan this is probably a stupid question but I'm a bit confused about what you mean about feeding from more than two sides each feed. DS does have more than one "go" at each breast IYSWIM at each feed but he does empty them.

Perhaps I do need to feed more but I'm following advice of several midwives, my health visitor and a lactation consultant. I have to wake DS for most feeds so thought 3 hours was ok but maybe not. confused This is my first baby and I'm feeling rather confused because there is so much conflicting advice out there.

omnishambles Mon 05-Sep-11 21:32:28

Blobby - when your ds has finished both breasts you put him back on the first one again and continue to switch - that way he gets more milk and the supply it stimulated more. Breasts are never really 'empty'.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 05-Sep-11 21:41:42


Your breasts never empty. The reason for your feeling of low supply in the evening though IS probably because of low supply, but it will come ONLY if you continue to feed at these times.

What signs are there that your supply is low? Is it baby's fussiness or hungriness? If so a cluster feed is tne BEST thing you can do.

The evening feeding is when your body takes on board your baby's needs for the following day. Not only that, the nature of the evening cluster feed makes your breasts make 'going to sleep' milk rather than 'waking up' milk.

If you need your sleep, go to bed at 7pm with your baby and stay there until 7am. In those 12 hours you'll get your 8 some how, even if it is broken.

It isn't forever.


RitaMorgan Mon 05-Sep-11 21:43:16

Was there a particular reason for three hourly feeds? Does your ds ask to be fed at all?

8 feeds a day is at the lower end for a breastfed baby I'd say, I would probably offer more frequently than that. Is your baby jaundiced? I had to wake my ds 2 hourly at first as he was very jaundiced and sleepy.

There is some good info here on the Kellymom site.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 05-Sep-11 21:43:18

Blooby, is your lactation consultant from LLL or NCT? If not I would recommend you get a second opinion on the advice you have been given thus far.

Babies in countries where they have unlimited access to the breast i.e. are carried in a sling, feed approximtely every 24 minutes.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 05-Sep-11 21:45:12

numpls There is a well known 'tricky patch' at around 4 months.

If you put it into the advanced search you'll see a lot of posters 'complaining' of it. It isn't because the baby is extra hungry though, it is because of their particular developmental stage that affects their feeding patterns.

lilham Mon 05-Sep-11 21:56:13

numpls, it's called the 4 month sleep regression. Solids won't help it at all given that all you can give him before 6mo are 'diet' food. My DD is 5mo, and it's the only one in her NCT not weaned yet. (I am doing BLW but honestly I don't think much has gone in). And I'm the only one with a baby that still sleeps through. It's anecdotal ofc, but I'm just saying that solids aren't going to be your magic solution to the sleep problem. She does have nights that she woke twice very very hungry. But for the past week she's back to 10-6.

MonkeeMummy Mon 05-Sep-11 22:10:00

Hi Blobby11, There is a lot of conflicting advice about feeding, but if your baby is coming off the breast naturally, seems happy/alert/sleeps between his 3hrly feeds and is gaining weight then you probably have it about right. That's also the advice that I was given in the last couple of weeks by my lovely H.V. and it sounds good to me.

Re, expressing in the morning: I have loads of milk in the morning, so I let her take as much as she likes from one or both breasts) then express 2/3oz from the fullest breast. I do the same again at the 10am 9 (or lunchtime) feed.

Although, I don't follow Gina Ford's Contented Baby routine rigidly (mainly because I have school runs and a business to run when I'm not BFing), I did find some of the ideas in her books (including the expressing in the morning one) really helpful in establishing a routine... but different folks and all that...

Blobby11 Tue 06-Sep-11 09:28:51

Thanks everyone for all your help. I think perhaps I need to describe what DS does during feeding.

At each feed he feeds really enthusiastically for 15-20 minutes then seems to give up. I burp him then switch sides and he gets going again for another 15-20 minutes. I then burp him and switch back to the first breast and on the 2nd go he won't do more than 10 minutes before giving up so I switch to the 2nd breast where he'll do another 5-10 minutes. I have tried swapping sides again after this but he's not interested.

During the day he is satisfied after a feed like this but once we get to early evening he isn't. He roots around and starts whimpering. If he doesn't get more food he starts screaming and won't settle. I then give him 2oz formula and he's satisfied.

The lactation consultant (who is LLL certified and was recommended by my NCT breast feeding counsellor) said that as well as 3 hourly feeding I should express for 20 minutes after each feed to get my production up and so that I could supplement with expressed milk rather than formula. I haven't been able to achieve this at all. If I try and express straight after a feed I get very little milk and I find it hurts. Also I don't know how to fit it all in. Breastfeeding takes around an hour so with three hourly feeds I can fit in some two hour sleeps but if I have to top up and express I run out of time. How do those of you who feed more frequently cope. When do you sleep?

RitaMorgan Tue 06-Sep-11 10:18:55

When he roots again in the evenings does he still refuse to go back on the breast?

Is any of this on cluster feeding and fussy evenings helpful to you?

I co-slept when my ds was little, that's how I got more sleep at night. I do seem to remember finding 2-3 weeks the lowest point for sleep deprivation though! After a while you get the hang of feeding lying down and dozing though. I'd nap when ds did during the day, he usually had a nap of a couple of hours mid-morning I think, and I'd take him to bed and feed him there.

RitaMorgan Tue 06-Sep-11 10:20:10

Oh, and do you definitely have a supply problem? Is your ds gaining weight?

Blobby11 Tue 06-Sep-11 10:50:48

Thanks so much RitaMorgan yes that article does help. Think I'm going to have to try that.

DS lost 12% of his birth weight by day 5 which is why I was advised to supplement. He has now regained his birth weight and is continuing to gain but I have continued to supplement.

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