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How to get a baby to drink more at each feed?

  1. #1
    premama is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    How to get a baby to drink more at each feed?

    My baby is now over 9 weeks old. For the last couple of days, she's been feeding every hour during the day and every 2 hours during the night...initially I thought that I didn't have enough milk which was prompting this behaviour but reading the other threads on this site, it seems that she's going through a growth spurt (since she's gaining weight and generally happy/content after feeds).

    Generally speaking though, my baby does not feed for very long (5-10 minutes on one breast only) and she either falls asleep or does not look interested in feeding anymore.

    I've been told by the paediatrician that feeding 10-12 times a day on average is a little on the high side for a 9-week old baby. She suggested that I encourage her to feed longer at each feed.

    Has anyone encountered a similar situation before and how did you encourage your baby to feed more at each feed?


  2. #2
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Hong Kong

    How your baby feeds in the long term usually depends on how large you breast capacity is. That is how much milk your body can store at any one time.

    If you breast capacity is large then as the baby grows they tend to take less but larger meals. Whereas if your breast capacity is small the baby continues to take lots of smaller meals. The both babies, however, get the same amount of milk during the day.


    11 x 2.5 oz = 27.5 oz

    7 x 4 oz = 28 oz

    A fully breastfed baby drinks between 25 and 30 ozs in every 24 hours. This is true for a one month old and a six month old.

    It is one of the differences between a breastfed and a bottle fed baby. A breastfed baby continues to drink about the same amount but the composition of the milk changes. It changes from the beginning of the feed to the end of the feed, from the beginning of the day to the end of the day and as the baby grows. Formula milk is always the same and so the only way to get more calories into the baby is to increase the amount of milk the baby is drinking.

    Second babies often feed in small feeds as well. This is because the mother has the first child to look after at the same time and so often gets interrupted when feeding the second baby. Thus the baby quickly learns to feed fast before an interruption comes. But because he is feeding fast needs another feed quite quickly.

    There is nothing medically wrong with the baby continuing to have lots of short feeds. But sometime the mothers find it inconvenient. Other mothers find it much easier to sit down and feed once an hour for 10 minutes than finding time to sit down and feed for 30 to 45 minutes once every three hours.

    One method to try to get the baby to take more milk in each feed is called breast compression.

    Dr. Jack Newman also explains how to do Breast Compression on his web site,

    Breast Compression at

    He also has video clips on his web site which can be useful, scroll down until you find them.
    Compression and Compression Two under the heading Breast Compression.

    Another good technique is Switch Nursing. Switch nursing is changing to the other side when the baby no longer seems interested. Usually when we start feeding the baby is very interested to suck, as the baby slows down we start the breast compression and when the baby slows down with the breast compression we change and get the baby to have the other side. On the other side after the baby starts to slow down we again use the breast compression and when he slows down again swap back to the first side again. We can continue swapping sides as much as we like and for as long as the baby is willing to continue to suck. It is fine to swap sides 8, 9 or 10 times in one feed.

    Best wishes,

  3. #3
    kashismum is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Hong Kong

    How is your baby sleeping during the day?

    With my first, she definitely got into a 'snack and nap' routine where she'd feed freqeuntly and briefly and sleep for just 20-30 minutes at a time.

    Fundamentally, there's nothing wrong with this as long as your baby is healthy, but it is exhausting.

    I just tried to lengthen the time time between feeds gradually until she was feeding every 3-4 hours and I found she'd take a better feed. I did not stick to a feeding schedule rigidly, but used it as a guide. If I felt she was hungry in between 'feeds', I'd feed her - if she was going through a growth spurt, for example.

    Also, as well as the 'switching', try to lengthen the feed by taking short breaks. Stop for a few minutes and try again. Keep your baby awake during and after feeding for a while.


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