Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Under a Chimpocracy
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I have 3 children and all 3 of them nursed at least every hour and a half, wth maybe one 3 or 4 hour break in the night, once infancy was over. They continued this way until weaning was really underway.
Many childcare books get you to thinking newborns nurse that often (eg: 8-14x/24hrs), but *all* bfed babies space out their feedings naturally after 3 mos, and suddenly are only eating 8 or 6 or even 4 times a day! Even before intro of solids! This is just not true for many reasons. Your baby knows how much he needs to eat. His hunger follows his growth/activity pattern. If he is a slow grower, he may not eat as often. If he is a fast grower (all mine were) he will need more food, natch.
Also, women have different storage capacity in the breast (not dependent on breast size, BTW). Some store a lot between feeds. Those that don't, make milk as baby nurses, and may need to feed more frequently too.
Some babies are more sucky, more cuddly, than others. Some are more sensitive and need to check in often for reassurance.
To sum up, there are dozens of reasons some babies nurse often, and they are good reasons. As your baby becomes a toddler, his needs and wishes or habits are no longer the same. If you can drop a feed without much protest, it was probably a habit. If the child gets real upset, cries for it day after day, it is a need and should be respected.