Breastfeeding is a beautiful and intimate bonding experience between a mother and child that provides many benefits to both. There are many articles and books on the subject, and many recommendations differ from author to author. As such, many first time mothers find themselves wondering, “How long should a newborn nurse?”
In this article, we will discuss many aspects of nursing, such as the frequency of breastfeeding, the length of each breastfeeding interval and the age that newborns should be nursed until. Keep reading for common breastfeeding questions.
How Often Should I Feed My Newborn?
Newborn babies need to be nursed between 8 and 12 times a day. While this frequency may seem high compared to formula-fed newborns, breast milk is easier for newborns to digest. This means that they can process breastmilk easily, and as a result, they need to be fed more often. When first starting out, newborns will typically need to nurse every 1.5 to 3 hours. This frequency slows as the baby gets older, allowing for more time in-between feedings. A growing newborn will also develop a more consistent feeding schedule over time.
Although nursing should occur whenever the newborn displays that they are hungry, a newborn should never go more than 4 hours without being fed. This also includes when a newborn is sleeping. If your newborn does not wake up on their own, you should rouse your baby in order to comply with this nursing frequency.
How Long Does Nursing Take?
Most nursing sessions for newborns last between 20 to 45 minutes. These feedings become shorter as the newborn grows and becomes more adept at suckling. At three months old, nursing time could decrease to as little 10 minutes. Meanwhile, a 6- to 10-month-old will be prone to distractions, and more interruptions during nursing could cause the nursing time to increase. Nursing duration can also depend on how quickly your breast milk flows, how full your breasts are and whether or not your infant is suckling correctly.
There is no “ideal” amount of time that a newborn should nurse. It’s important to monitor your newborn’s weight gain and to pay attention to cues that they are full and satisfied. A breastfeeding woman’s body is incredibly proficient at recognizing a baby’s appetite, as it can increase or decrease breastmilk production as needed. Trust that your body will naturally respond to your newborn’s feeding habits and allow your newborn to feed when they’re hungry.
A newborn’s appetite is closely tied to growth spurts which can affect how long a newborn will nurse. They will desire longer and more frequent feedings for high caloric nutrition to fuel their growing bodies. If the frequency or duration of nursing seems to have increased, do not worry about regulating or restricting their intake. These growth spurts typically happen between them being one to two weeks old, two months, four months and six months old.
How Long Should a Newborn Nurse?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding until the infant is at least a year old. However, they must absolutely be nursed for no less than six months. The breastfeeding period is crucial to a newborn’s development, and they require many calories. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding well past this age, saying two years old (or beyond) is the minimum age. There is no definite time when you should stop breastfeeding your child. Extended breastfeeding is a fairly regular occurrence.
When it comes to nursing a newborn, the body has many natural instincts that can accurately guide a new mother. Paired with the signs from your newborn, you will find that you’ll intuitively know when your newborn has been adequately fed.
If you are unsure how long a newborn should nurse or are concerned that your baby isn’t gaining enough weight, visit a walk-in clinic that is part of the UrgentMED Network. Medical professionals will be able to quickly examine your infant on a walk-in basis at any of the 13 Southern California locations. Find the UrgentMED network nearest to you to address all of your newborn’s health concerns.
At Venice Urgent Care, we understand that, as a parent, you have many important decisions to make. There is more medical information available now than ever before, which can render decision making even more difficult for you.
We strive to help you with those decisions, one of which is whether or not you should get a flu shot for your child.
The flu is dangerous for children
Severe complications from influenza (the flu) are most commonly seen in children under the age of two. If a child develops the flu before the age of five, they commonly require medical care. The risks for children to endure serious complications from the flu increase for children who have chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes or nervous system disorders.
The flu changes each year… and so does the flu vaccine
Flu seasons are unpredictable and vary in severity. The spread and severity of the flu can also vary in different parts of the country. Sadly, many children die from the flu each year.
Because the flu changes each year, so does the flu vaccine. There are different flu immunization products that are approved for different age groups. At Venice Urgent Care, our flu shot dosage is appropriate for children aged five years and older.
Your trusted healthcare providers at Venice Urgent Care know which flu shot is appropriate for your child.
You shouldn’t be concerned about vaccines
Many parents have a fear of vaccines for their children – including the flu vaccine. Reasons may include:
- Negative side effects
- They mistakenly believe that the flu isn’t that serious
- Too many shots for their child to endure
- Flu shots may cause the flu
Some parents are afraid their child may experience negative side effects from the immunizations – or even get the flu from the flu shot. Some parents don’t feel the illnesses addressed by some of the vaccines are all that serious. Another fear parents have is that their children simply get too many shots.
It is impossible for the flu shot to cause illness because it is a killed or inactivated virus. The live virus that was previously given in nasal spray form has been discontinued for this year’s flu season.
The flu can be very serious and should not be underestimated. According to the CDC, an average of 20,000 children under the age of five are hospitalized each year due to complications from influenza.
Get advice from your healthcare provider
The best way to make an informed decision regarding vaccinations and any other medical issues affecting your children is to get professional advice from your healthcare provider.
We, at Venice Urgent Care, will take the time to sit down with you and explain the positives, as well as the negatives of vaccines and help you with the important decisions you will make as a parent.
Call (310) 396-2273 or visit us today. We are here to help you be the best parent you can be and to help keep your family healthy.
The normal temperature for an infant is about 97.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures that are slightly higher or lower may also be deemed normal. To be considered as a fever, one has to reach a temperature of at least 100.4 F.
How to Tell if Your Child is Above the Normal Temperature
Your child may be above the normal temperature and is already having a fever if he or she has the following symptoms: feels warm to the touch (on the forehead, back, or stomach), is sweaty or clammy, or has flushed cheeks. If your child is feeling warm, get a thermometer to measure his or her temperature right away.
How to Measure your Child’s Temperature
There are many different kinds of digital thermometers that you can get from pharmacies and supermarkets. These will be able to provide you with a fast and accurate temperature reading.
In order to take your child’s temperature, you must get them in a comfortable position for both you and them. Slide the end of the thermometer underneath their armpit. Hold their arm against their body in order to keep the thermometer in place.
Check the instructions to see how long the thermometer should be left in place. Some of them beep in order to signal that it is time to read your child’s temperature. Look at the display screen to see if your child has a fever.
Other Types of Thermometers
There are also other types of thermometers that you may use. With an ear thermometer, all you have to do is line it up to the inside of the ear, and you will immediately get a reading. With infants, however, you may end up getting inaccurate readings because of their small ear holes. Moreover, ear thermometers are more expensive than regular digital ones.
There are also strip-type thermometers that are held against the forehead. But these may also be less accurate than digital ones.
Never use mercury thermometers made of glass as they might break and expose your child to poisonous mercury.
Factors that Can Affect Accuracy
If you have followed the product’s instructions carefully, you can be sure to get an accurate reading. However, there are a couple of factors that may contribute to slight changes in the temperature.
These may be if your child has been wrapped tightly in a blanket, is in a warm room, or has been playing or running around. Under these conditions, the temperature you get may be higher than what it actually is. Just make sure to cool down your child first before proceeding to take their temperature.
What Does Having a Higher Than Normal Temperature Mean?
If your child has a higher than average temperature, this may mean he or she has a fever. Fevers may sometimes be linked to other illnesses. It is common for infants to get a fever after getting their vaccinations or if they are fighting off an infection.
For mild cases, you can look after your child from home. Make sure to try and cool down their temperature, and keep them rehydrated. If your child’s temperature is very high or is coupled with other symptoms, seek medical advice as soon as possible. At UrgentMed of Los Angeles, we see to it that you get immediate care. Contact us today.