Being a new mum comes with a set of new questions and concerns, with some of the most common being about breastfeeding. Is my baby eating enough? Long enough? And what is this I heard about my baby sleeping through the night by 3 months?
Dr Jacqueline Kent has put some solid time into her breastfeeding research and after observing the feeding habits of numerous exclusively breastfeeding babies aged 1 to 6 months, she discovered that “normal” breastfeeding for one mum may be completely abnormal for the next.
How Long and How Much?
The amount of time that a baby may spend breastfeeding varies greatly, with each feeding ranging between 12 to 67 minutes in length and anywhere from 4 to 13 times a day. During each feed, the average amount of milk that was drank from one breast was 75 ml, but the amount varied anywhere from 30 to 135 ml.
Here’s another interesting statistic from the study: boys tend to drink more than girls! Over the course of a day, boys would consume an average of 831 ml while girls would consume 755 ml.
One Breast or Two?
Many new mums fret about their baby not getting enough when he or she continues to drink from only one breast. As Dr Kent’s study showed, it was actually quite common for babies to have a preference for one or both breasts:
30% of infants always drank from just one breast
13% of infants always drank from both
57% regularly changed their preference
Do Babies Feed at Night?
We’ve all heard stories about that fortunate new mum who is enjoying a solid 8 hours of sleep each night. Turns out this isn’t a myth as 36% of exclusively breastfed babies don’t feed at night! Instead, these babies wake up and enjoy a large morning feed. The other 64% of babies like to spread out their feeds in fairly equal portions:
28% of intake is in the morning
28% of intake is in the afternoon
24% of intake is in the is in the evening
20% of intake is at night
Knowing if your bub is getting enough when breastfeeding can be difficult since, unlike bottle fed babies, we can’t actually see and keep track of how much our babies are consuming. But as this study shows, babies are individuals who have their own personal preferences and feeding styles.
As long as your baby is steadily gaining weight, meeting milestones and is happy, there is no need to worry whether or not your breastfed baby is getting enough milk.