Many young mothers have this question in their head. Having a child is a beautiful but full of surprises period, with many unknowns. Most women know that breastfeeding comes natural, and this is the way they should feed their babies. But when it comes to how long, how much, and when to stop this process, many mothers do not have answers to these questions.
We chose to put together this article as an attempt to offer young mothers, future to be mothers, and women who plan to have a baby, answers to question like how long to breastfeed and other related issues. We chose to discuss in this article the most frequent questions that trouble newly become mothers. Hopefully, the gathered information will help you feel more relaxed about breastfeeding and enjoy the relationship you will create with your baby.
How long can you breastfeed?
The minimum period of breastfeeding is until the baby reaches six months. After this period, you can feed your young child with different foods, milk powder or alternate the three of them. The World Health Organization though recommends that a mother breastfeed up to two years and even more than that if the mother chooses. It is believed that continuous breastfeeding will keep your baby infection free and healthier, due to the nutritional value and antibody composition of the mother’s milk. The feeding does not have to be exclusively from the mother’s milk. After a six-month period, a meal or two of mother’s milk will suffice, alongside other types of food.
Average breastfeeding time
The breastfeeding time can vary from one baby to another, so the length of time spent on one feeding may be between 10 minutes and 45 minutes. The average is situated within 20 or 25 minutes. In the first weeks of life, babies tend to become rather sleepy while breastfeeding, so mothers need to be calm and have patience until the baby finishes eating. Because they are small and tend to sleep all the time, the feeding time can be quite long.
How much breast milk does a newborn need?
The quantity of milk needed by a newborn baby varies according to his age, in days, after coming into this world. So, a one-day-old baby will need just 7ml, this being just a bit more than a teaspoon of milk. A two-day baby will need about 14ml, just a bit under three teaspoons. On the third day, he will need 38ml (1.3fl oz.), on the fourth day 58ml (2fl oz.) and the seventh day about 65ml (2.2fl oz.). But don’t bother measuring the amount of milk produced by your breasts. You will need to trust your baby that he will know best when he’s done eating. Breastfed babies do not require a very large quantity of milk because the nutritional value is rather high. Thus, the average milk volume is about 25 ounces (750 mL) per 24 hours.
How long should you breastfeed your baby?
The period in which you will breastfeed is entirely your decision. You are the one who chooses how much you will let your baby breastfeed. The central idea is that the longer you do it; the better will do your child. Specialists recommend breastfeeding at least until your baby is six months old. Although, they are the ones that also recommend continuing breastfeeding up to one year. But if you feel great about it, you can choose to breastfeed for as long as you like. During breastfeeding time, your baby will receive the power he needs to stand up against illnesses like allergies and respiratory infections, asthma or stomach problems. So it is only for the benefit of your baby.
How long should you breastfeed on each side?
It is best if you can alternate breasts at feeding time, to avoid any pain or over stress to just one breast. Doctors recommend switching the feeding breast by the middle of the feeding, thus making sure both breasts are worked out equally. They also say you should start each meal with the breast that remain last in the previous feeding. Thus, you will always start the feeding session with a different breast. Keeping a small notebook can help you with remembering how to start, because with so many feedings in a row it is easy to forget. All these rules are not imperative though. Each mother will find the best practice for the comfort of both.
The average time to stop breastfeeding
There isn’t any limit to when breastfeeding should stop. The baby will be ready to take in solid food after the age of six months. After this period, you can stop breastfeeding or just continue with it as you want. It is a decision that is made exclusively by mothers. The decision can be related to how you feel, the personal circumstances of the mother, as well as the support she receives from the family. Breastfeeding is great for the child, and there are so many countries in which breastfeeding continues until the second year of age of the child. As long as you feel comfortable with it, there is no need to stop.
How often should you breastfeed your baby?
In the first days of life, babies will need to feed rather often, during the day and night. The appetite of the child may vary. Thus, he will ask for your breasts every 90 minutes or up to every two hours. It is important to allow your baby to feed as often as he asks for it because doing so will adjust the quantity of milk your body will produce. Growth spurts may also be a cause that will determine your baby to ask for more frequent and prolonged feeding sessions.
How long should you breastfeed before switching to formula?
A practice like this does not have any deadline whatsoever. The mother can choose to exclusively breastfeed, with no formula, switch to formula after the first months of her baby or use them both. Most mothers turn to formula in the case that they return to work as it is quicker to bottle feed the baby. Although, most mothers continue to breastfeed regardless of their return to work or school. So you may choose never to use formulas because your baby will be the strongest and healthiest without special formulas. Although, if the idea crosses your mind to switch to formula, at least try to breastfeed your baby for the first six months. It is the period when a child is most sensitive to the dangers of diseases, and your milk will provide the protection he needs.
How much breast milk does a newborn need at each feeding?
The best thing about breastfeeding is that you cannot see the amount of milk inside your breast, compared to bottle feeding. Thus, the risk of overfeeding does not exist. Let your baby establish when he is done eating. Trust him, because his body is programmed to ease down after he is full. Look for signs telling you that your baby is almost done eating. A baby that has had enough will detach on his own from the breast. He might also look sleeping, calm or even like he is drunk in some way. If the baby pushes the nipple out, but remains awake, try offering him the other breast. If he accepts it that’s fine, if he refuses it is fine also, this meaning he is full.
How many months should you breastfeed?
Depending on your health status and will, you may breastfeed as much as you want. The first six months are essential. Even if the first period after giving birth to your baby seem the hardest, because of the frequent feeding sessions, most mothers do not regret proceeding this way at all. So six months is the recommended period. After this time passes, you can continue for as long as you wish and feel comfortable about it. You should also keep in mind that, as your baby will grow, the time between meals will occur over longer spans of time. So you won’t have to wake up in the middle of the night for the rest of your breastfeeding period.