Frequency Days

Are there days when your breastfed baby seems extra hungry and fussy, and wants to nurse constantly?

Lactation consultants call these sudden increases in feeding “frequency days”, and they tend to occur at 3, 6 and 8 weeks, and 3 (sometimes 4) and 6 months. During frequency days, a baby may seem fussy or irritated when not at the breast—and sometimes, even when feeding!

Frequency days increase your milk supply, make pumping more productive, and meet your growing baby’s nutritional needs. They can happen throughout the first year of life. So even once you have an active, distractible 9-month-old, you may find yourself nursing often when your baby is growing like a weed.

Common reasons babies have frequency days:

There are several reasons why babies have these frequency days—everything from physical changes to just needing a little comfort.

  • Your baby is growing – They may occur because a baby is fueling up for a growth spurt.
     
  • Illness – Sudden increases in breastfeeding can also be brought on by a cold or other sickness. Frequent nursing ensures your baby receives the antibodies your body has made especially for him at this time.
     
  • Sudden Changes – Changes in routine or new stages of development can also make your baby want to nurse more than usual for a day or so.
     
  • Your baby needs you. – Sometimes he or she just needs a little extra comfort from mama.

For babies, nursing means more than nutrition. It also means comfort, warmth and security, so it makes sense that they would want to nurse when they’re feeling tired, sick, irritable or just off.

So, if one day you find you can do little but breastfeed—settle into a comfortable chair with your baby, keep a pitcher of water and healthy snacks at your elbow, queue up some binge-worthy TV and enjoy the cuddles! Know that this is normal for your baby and your breastfeeding relationship. It won’t last forever!

See also ...

•  VIDEO: Growth spurts and frequency days>

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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