How Long Mothers Should Breastfeed the Baby?

How Long Mothers Should Breastfeed the Baby

Breastfeeding is beneficial for babies and mothers. It keeps the child healthy and helps the mother in improving her health after delivery. You may find it a bit puzzling if it is your first baby.

New mothers have very little knowledge about how to breastfeed. They also do not know how often they should breastfeed. Are you expecting your first baby or you have just given birth to a child? You may have some questions about breastfeeding time. Continue reading to learn some important facts about breastfeeding time!

How Often You Should Breastfeed The Child?

You must be wondering how long you should wait before feeding the child again. The interval mainly depends on the age of your child. Follow the below-given tips to breastfeed your baby on time!

Do not follow a routine if you have a newborn baby

Everything is unfamiliar and new to a newborn child. He does not know the concept of time and it is a completely elusive thing for him! A newborn baby can sleep, wake up, cry, and feed whenever he feels to do so. Therefore, you cannot pre-plan anything for a 1-2 months old child.  

People used to believe that a newborn baby needs breast milk every 2-3 hours. It is still true, but new studies show that you cannot be sure about the feeding time. You should not follow a schedule because it won’t work.

Your baby may get hungry after 2-3 hours or not! Therefore, you should feed him on demand. Learn the signs your newborn baby gives to show he is hungry. The baby will be happy and you will feel satisfied if you breastfeed on demand. Do not force the child to consume milk if he is not hungry.

Breastfeeding time changes when the child is 1-2 months old

The breastfeeding frequency changes when the child is 1-2 months old. You should still feed the baby on demand, but the interval can be 4 hours long. Babies start consuming more milk by this age. They get smarter and develop signs to indicate when they are hungry.

Most 1-2 months old babies just cry or get upset when they are hungry. You should feed the baby and let him sleep or play. He won’t demand milk for the next 3-4 hours for sure!

Parents can start following a breastfeeding interval when the baby is 2 months old. Suppose the baby consumed milk at 9 am, get ready to feed him again between 12 pm-1 pm. Babies can adapt to the feeding time when they are 2-3 months old. That’s how things work when you are nursing a child.  

Breastfeeding interval for a 3-6 months old baby

A 3 months old baby will demand milk every 3-4 hours. Thus, you may need to feed the child 5-6 times a day. The interval will get much longer when your child is 6 months old. He will enjoy long sleep during the night. You will feed just once every 4-5 hours. Thus, the baby will demand milk only 5-times a day.

You can change your baby’s diet once he is 6 months old. Breast milk should be the main food source, but you can add complimentary food to his daily diet. Newborn babies feed quite patiently. It may take 30-40 minutes to feed a newborn baby. However, the baby won’t drink milk longer than 10-15 minutes once he is 5-6 months old.

How to Breastfeed the Baby on Demand?

Feeding on demand is beneficial for the baby’s health. How to know the child is hungry? Babies do not speak and it is tough for the moms to understand the meaning of the baby’s every action. Babies mostly cry when they are hungry. However, crying is not always the sign that your child is hungry.  

Some babies cry when they feel wet and some cry when they feel uncomfortable. You should focus on the following signs to know when your child is hungry. Thus, you will feed him on demand and not on crying!

Know how long ago you had fed the baby

You can trust the breastfeeding intervals shared in this post. Remember how long ago you fed the baby. If he is a newborn baby, his crying or upset mood after two hours means he is demanding food. The same method you can apply to learn whether your 3-4 months or 5-6 months old baby is hungry.

Crying does not mean hungry

Hold the baby in a correct breastfeeding position. He will calmly consume the milk and then fall asleep. If the baby gets awake and starts crying, it does not mean the child is hungry. You should check his diaper to ensure the baby is not wet. Check whether the child is experiencing other kinds of discomfort or not. If not, then he is crying for food.

Babies suck fingers when they are hungry

Mature babies start sucking their fingers when they feel hungry. It soon turns into a habit and that troubles parents a lot. If the baby is sucking his fingers loudly, you should check how long ago you fed him. It is breastfeeding time if you had fed the baby 3-4 hours ago.

How Long You Should Breastfeed the Baby?

Some people believe breast milk loses its nutritional values after six months. You should not trust such claims because it is just a myth. 6 months old babies can consume formula milk. That does not mean you should stop breastfeeding the child.

The child will grow stronger if you continue breastfeeding him. Continue reading how long you should feed breast milk to the baby and when you should wean off.

Do not stop breastfeeding after 6 months

Breast milk does not lose its nutritional values after six months. It lacks immunoglobulin, which is responsible for boosting immunity. That’s why most babies stay healthy until they are 6 months old.

You should add immunity-booster complimentary meals to the baby’s daily diet after 6 months. Continue breastfeeding because it will be the main source of meal for your child. The baby will slowly adapt to the new diet. This change is necessary, but it doesn’t mean breastfeeding is unhealthy!

The weaning period starts when the child is 1-year old

There is no other food that can replace breast milk. It remains the most nutritious meal for your child for a long time. You should continue feeding breast milk to the baby until he is 1-year old. It is the time when the weaning period should begin.

Your baby will take time to adapt to external foods. You should first introduce formula milk and then solid foods. That’s how a smooth diet change should take place. Do not be in a hurry. Be there when the baby demands milk and breastfeed him whenever possible!

Is Breast Milk Nutritious for the Baby After 1 Year?

You may like to wean as soon as possible once the baby is 1-year old. It is the time when the child starts consuming mushy foods. Is breast milk still essential for your baby after 1-year? It cannot protect the baby’s immune system anymore.

What about other benefits of breastfeeding the child after 1-year? Should you wean off if the child is 1-year old? Let’s find out some facts to make the right decision.

Breast milk does not lose its nutritional values after 1-year

Although some people say breast milk is not healthy after 1-year, it is just a myth. There is no scientific study to support such a claim. The WHO recommends parents feed breast milk until the child is 2 years old. Add complimentary meals in small quantities to your child’s diet. Breast milk should still be the main source of food until the baby is 2 years old!

Add formula milk and other healthy foods to your child’s diet

Breast milk is essential for the good health of the child. That does not mean you should only breastfeed the baby. Choose top-quality formula milk and feed it at least twice a day to the baby. You should also feed smoothies and other mushy foods as the baby get older. Such diet changes are essential to keep the baby healthy and energetic.  

Can Formula Milk Completely Replace Breast Milk?

Formula milk is going to be an important part of your baby’s diet. It cannot completely replace breast milk. Do not stop breastfeeding the baby until he is 2 years old. Diet changes should be gradual when it comes to babies. The baby will stop breastfeeding when he is 2-3 years old. Until then breast milk will be the main food for your baby.

Conclusion

There are many myths about breastfeeding. You should believe only in scientific facts. Feed the child on demand and continue breastfeeding after 6 months. Wean off gradually so that new diet changes won’t affect your baby’s health.

Mothers can produce milk after 6 months and 1 year. So, continue breastfeeding your baby for two years and then wean off. Your baby will be ready for the new change and he will enjoy the new diet changes.


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