The first few days of breastfeeding can often be difficult. Neither you nor your baby really knows what you’re doing. However, once you both get the hang of it, breastfeeding is a wonderful experience that bonds you and your baby.
Babies love to nurse. It’s not only that they enjoy drinking milk; they love the feeling of being close to you. It should be no surprise that your baby wants to spend as much time as she can at your breast.
In fact, it seems as though some babies decide that the breast is their favorite place to hang out. You may be wondering if you should be worried about all that frequent nursing.
Newborns and Breastfeeding
Your newborn baby is going to need a lot of nursing both during the day and night. Until your baby is three months old you really shouldn’t be paying any attention to how often she’s nursing.
Once your baby is about three months old she’ll be nursing less frequently. At least most babies will be. Some babies want to spend a lot of time being close to you.
It may feel as though you’re nothing more than a pacifier for her since it doesn’t seem as though she’s drinking very much milk when she’s there at your breast.
This is very common, especially in the evening and at night. Babies like the added comfort they get when they’re in your arms. Don’t be concerned if your baby is nursing more at night.
Not only is she doing this to be close to you, but she might also be making up for those daytime feedings when she’s easily distracted by what’s going on around her.
Is Frequent Nursing is Too Much?
It’s not uncommon for frequent nursing babies to demand milk up to 20 times in one day. If you don’t really care about a nursing schedule then you might not even notice this.
Many women let their baby nurse every time they fuss or upset. Offering the breast to your baby whenever she wants it is fine so long as you don’t mind the amount of time that you’re going to spend sitting down with her.
If you plan on going back to work in the near future you’ll want to take a closer look at how often your baby nurses so that you can make the right decision about breastfeeding.
Many women decide to do what is known as “demand feeding”, particularly if they have a baby who seems to want to nurse all the time.
These mothers swear by demand feeding and will tell you that their baby fusses and cries less because their needs are always met in the form of nursing.
Babies who nurse frequently are often more independent when they get older. Perhaps it’s the confidence they build up when they feel safe and secure while breastfeeding.
Demand feeding is not for everyone. It requires you to be constantly alert for when your baby wants to nurse. If demand feeding isn’t for you, don’t worry.
You can still breastfeed your baby as often as you can so that she benefits from frequent nursing.
Frequent breastfeeding is often called “snack eating”. Snack eating is perfectly normal when you’re breastfeeding and it’s just what it sounds like.
It’s your baby nursing for only a minute or two while she gets a bit of milk to keep her going. Your baby’s stomach is very small and your breast milk is easily digested by her.
This means that she might not need full nursing but rather just needs some milk to top her up until her next full feeding. So long as your baby is gaining weight and is healthy it’s okay to let her nurse when she wants.
Your own comfort needs to factor into this as well. If you find that your nipples are getting sore from so much nursing then you’ll have to take steps to reduce how often your baby is at your breast.
If it’s not bothering you then just keep letting your baby grab those snack feedings whenever she wants.
Breastfeeding is a Personal Affair
It’s important to remember that breastfeeding is between you and your baby. How often you decide to nurse will depend on you, your baby, and your own personal lifestyle.
Some mothers decide to nurse according to a schedule that they decide is right for them. Other mothers nurse when their baby asks for it.
So long as your baby is healthy and gaining weight you can rest assured that you’re doing what’s right for you. Don’t get too caught up with what your best friend did when it comes to breastfeeding, especially if you feel that your baby is nursing too much.
Frequent nursing is completely natural and healthy for your baby. You may find that once you let your baby set the pace when it comes to nursing that you’re both happier.