Q&A: How Do I Time My Newborn's Feedings?

How do I keep track of how long my baby is feeding for?
profile picture of Jeanne Cygnus, IBCLC, RLC
ByJeanne Cygnus, IBCLC, RLC
Lactation Specialist
Updated
Mar 2017
Hero Image

For the first few weeks (until your milk supply is well-established), you’ll want to feed baby a minimum of every two to three hours. That means, counting from the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of the next. For example, if baby ate at 1 p.m. and again at 3 p.m., that’s two hours between feedings…even if she sucked for a full hour. Because you’ll be sleep deprived and the feeding routine will seem endless, it will help to keep a written record of the time that each feeding begins. Some moms also like to jot down how long the feeding lasts, especially in the first few weeks of breastfeeding, if they are worried that breastfeeding isn’t going well, or if baby is showing signs of illness.

After those first few weeks though, there’s no need to watch the clock. Just be sure baby feeds eight to 12 times in each 24-hour period. (Feedings don’t have to be — and usually aren’t — evenly spaced.) Click here for a printable breastfeeding tracker.

Related Video

Mom's Viral Photo Makes a Case for Breastfeeding and Bottle Feeding

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
10/13/2017

Husband Asks Wife to Stop Breastfeeding for an Appalling Reason

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
11/03/2017

The States Where It’s Legal to Breastfeed In Public

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
08/04/2014

Breast Pumping Mom Pranks Her Coworkers

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
07/22/2016

Q&A: Are Nuts Okay to Eat While Breastfeeding?

Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC
Pediatrician

Mom Banned From Facebook After Sharing Breastfeeding Article

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
10/06/2017
Advertisement