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Nursing Your Baby

Many new mothers always ask about nursing. They are already thinking about this while they are pregnant. It is very good to decide about nursing your baby before you deliver since nursing will be one of the first things you do when your baby is born.

There are some common questions mothers ask about nursing your baby, so here are just a few that are easy to answer.

Q. How often should I nurse a newborn infant?

A. No fewer than 8 times per day, depending on how long he gives you at night. If he can go 4 hours, you’ll probably see two feedings in between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. If you tank him up right before you go to bed, you may only have one.

Q. How often should I nurse an older baby?

A. Depending on your child’s age, you should be on a 3-4 hour routine during the day. Remember, as your child gets older, the frequency of nursing sessions will drop off, but he will be eating more at each session. If you are committed to nursing past 6 months of age, it’s not recommended that you drop below 5 feedings per day. If you believe your milk supply is waning and you don’t want to stop breastfeeding, add a feeding or two to your daily routine in order to increase your milk supply

Q. How do I wean my baby?

A. The most common changes are moms who want to switch from a 3 to a 3.5 hour routine or a 3.5 to a 4 hour routine, babies who are ready to drop their middle of the night feeding, or parents who are ready to stop the late-night feeding.

Most often you will know when your baby is ready to switch by a change in his sleep patterns. A baby on a 3 hour routine typically takes 3 naps per day (morning, afternoon, late afternoon) and the switchover to a 3.5 hour routine will see a shortening of one of those naps or the dropping of the last nap of the day. Babies are generally ready for this switch by about 12 weeks of age.

Dropping the middle of the night feeding is most often accomplished by the baby himself between 7-14 weeks of age. You will know your baby is ready when he does not wake you up until 6:00 a.m. or so, and you will probably wake in a panic that morning, realizing you were not beckoned in the middle of the night. He will require more food during the day from this point on, and your breasts will likely be overly full for several days, but it’s all good!

Stopping the late night feeding is typically the trickiest to do. Many parents are reluctant to drop it, thinking that if they do, their baby will wake in the middle of the night, starving. If you think he cannot drop the feeding completely, back it up in 15-minute increments until you arrive at your desired time. If his last two feedings of the day are closer than your flexible schedule says it “should be,” don’t worry. It’s a temporary fix, and that’s what flexibility is all about. The routine serves you, not the other way around. Most women want to know when it is time to stop nursing. This is a personal decision and must be made intuitively between mother and child. Just use common sense and you will know when the time is right to stop nursing your baby.

As you can see, there are many benefits to nursing your baby. The baby is completely satisfied and gets many amazing nutrients and immunities. New moms feel pleasure from providing nourishment to the baby and it helps to lose weight quickly. The best part is that nursing your baby is free.