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

How do I keep track of how long my baby is feeding for?
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profile picture of Jeanne Cygnus, IBCLC, RLC
By Jeanne Cygnus, IBCLC, RLC, Lactation Specialist
Updated March 2, 2017
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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.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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