Frequency / Duration
During breastfeeding, there should be no rules regarding the frequency or duration of breastfeeding
The number and duration of feedings vary greatly from one baby to another and from one day to the next in the same baby, depending on their nutritional needs and physical proximity. In addition, it is the feedings that condition the milk production: the more the child takes milk, the more the mother produces it. These two notions explain that there must be no rules concerning the number or duration of feedings. During the first weeks of breastfeeding, most children often ask for up to 8 to 12 times a day. This should not be interpreted as a problem, especially not a lack of milk.
The lack of milk
The lack of milk, in the sense of a physiological maternal incapacity to produce milk, is exceptional. Only a minority of women actually do not produce enough milk to breastfeed. For the vast majority, the explanation of a “lack” of milk is other than a failing physiology. It may be a subjective impression, because of the child claims or cries for no unusual reason. These “peak days” are normal. There may also be a decrease in milk production in response to less breast emptying, for example, because of too short feedings and/or too much spacing. These two situations do not correspond to a real lack of milk and can be easily resolved.
To know if a baby wants to suck, just watch it when it wakes up, without waiting for it to cry. When a baby wakes up, several small signals show that he is ready to suck: he carries his hands to the mouth, opens his mouth, sucks his tongue, and, if he is in the arms of his mother, turns to the breast. Crying is a late signal of hunger that should not be waited for to feed: if we wait, the child may take a bad breast and have a less effective suction.For effective feedings, offer the breast as soon as the child wakes up, opens the mouth and moves his tongue.
The cracks are not due to too frequent or too long suckling, but to a bad position of the child within. The cracks are due to abnormal nipple friction with the baby’s mouth when it is not properly positioned in the breast. A good position of the child to suckle is the best prevention and the most effective treatment. Golden rules to check that a child is in a good position to take the breast: his face is facing the breast, ear, shoulder, and hip are in the same axis, the mouth is wide open, the nose is spontaneously cleared.
The best way to prevent or relieve breast strain or pain is to breastfeed on demand. Tensions and pains of the breasts during breastfeeding are rarely due to excessive milk production, but to insufficient drainage of the breasts. To combat them, the important thing is to empty regularly and completely the breasts to avoid any milky stasis. For this, the child must be able to suck unrestrictedly and effectively. Restriction of water, bandaging of the breasts and wearing a tight bra is not recommended: these measures are ineffective and may even worsen the problem. Do not restrict the duration or frequency of feedings! Check that the child’s head is effective, with a slow and regular sucking rhythm, punctuated by swallowing movements.