July 02, 2015

Q: How to increase time between feedings. My 8wk old continues to feed every 2.5 hrs during the day and 4hrs at night. I am breast feeding and will return to work in four weeks. Need to start pumping to store up milk but with the frequent feeds can't figure out when the best time to pump is. Thanks.

A: Babies grow rapidly, so they need to eat often to meet their needs, about every 2-3 hours during the day. Even toddlers and preschoolers eat 3 meals and 2 snacks a day (about every 3 hours!). The longer stretches of time between feedings start to happen at night, usually lasting about 6 hours by 4 months of age and 9-12 hours by 5-6 months of life.

Finding time to pump and stockpile your milk supply can be a challenge, but many lactation consultants prefer to use fresher milk (refrigerated for a few days ahead) as opposed to storing milk for months in the freezer. You can start by pumping one breast per feeding and then pumping the other for milk storage. Once you return to work, pump as often as your baby needs to eat to maintain milk supply and keep up with his demand.

Answered by Dr. Ari Brown