Every baby is different! Some babies seem to need to nurse constantly, while others take a gap for longer times between feedings. Mothers can follow their baby`s lead in how often to nurse, as long as their baby is nursing enough.
Breastfeed babies regulate themselves; they take what they need, not just at each feeding, but from each breast. Moreover, many breastfeeding problems - including those attributed to `too much milk` or `not enough milk` - are resolved with more frequent nursing.
Thus, if your baby is nursing at least 8-12 times in a 24-hour period, you can let your baby decide how often to nurse. If your baby is not nursing that much in the early weeks, then you may need to wake your baby to feed more often. Babies who nurse a lot tend to get plenty of milk because their mothers` milk supplies get boosted by the frequent nursing.
Research now shows that restricting the amount of time at the breast and extending the time between feedings can reduce not only a mother`s milk supply, but also the fat content of her milk - resulting in a hungry, crying baby.
Some babies are nappers - nursing for a bit, napping for a bit and then starting all over again. Other babies are leisurely diners, taking a long time on one breast. Keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with following your baby`s lead, as breastfeeding is an interactive relationship that requires the mother to be responsive. This responsiveness helps your baby to form a close, loving bond with you.