How many times a day should I breastfeed my newborn?

Begin breastfeeding your baby as soon as possible after birth—ideally within the first hour or two. And continue breastfeeding at least 8 times in each 24-hour period. Expect to breastfeed every 1–3 hours day and night, although some newborns may have their days and nights mixed up at first! Some babies will breastfeed every 2-3 hours, day and night, while others will “cluster-feed,” breastfeeding every hour for three to five feedings and sleeping 3–4 hours between clusters. 

Some babies will breastfeed on both breasts at every feeding, while others will breastfeed on only one breast. Every baby is different. Some babies will “graze” while others “chow down,” however, you will know your baby is full when she no longer sucks and swallows. 

What’s most important is that you breastfeed your baby whenever she is fussy or hungry. Early signs of hunger include: squirming, wiggling, and sucking on fingers or fists. 

If you wait for your baby to cry (a late sign of hunger), it can be harder for your baby to latch on and breastfed well. It's best to learn her hunger cues and feed on request rather than demand.

Last updated November 12, 2018

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