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Baby-Led Feeding

It is important to be aware and respond to your baby’s feeding cues. Babies should feed whenever they show signs of hunger at least 8-12 times per 24 hours. Don’t watch the clock. Your baby will let you know when they are hungry. Nursing your baby every time he/she shows signs of hunger will help to establish your milk supply for your baby. You should not try to put your baby on a schedule as ignoring feeding cues can lead to a lower milk supply and an unhappy baby.

Crying is usually the last indication that your baby is hungry. Keeping your baby close allows you to notice their cues before they get to the point of crying.

Feeding clues include:

  • Moving her eyes rapidly
  • Becoming restless
  • Putting his/her fingers in her mouth
  • Opening his/her mouth as though he/she were about to breastfeed, known as “rooting”

When feeding your baby, allow him/her to nurse on the first breast until he/she releases or falls asleep. This allows your baby to get the foremilk, the watery portion that quenches his/her thirst, then the hind milk, the fattier milk that keeps him/her full longer. Burp your baby, and then offer the other breast to complete the feeding. He/she may not empty the second breast, so begin with this breast at the next feeding.

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