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Common Breastfeeding Questions

Updated: Feb 25

Many questions cross a mother’s mind, leading to breastfeeding, such as; should I breastfeed my baby every hour or two hours? How long should one feed last? How big is my baby's stomach, and is it enlarged as my baby gets older? To answer all these questions, you should know the following facts.

What kind of milk does the mother have after birth?

Starting from the 26th week of pregnancy, the mother begins producing colostrum milk. It is easily distinguishable by its dense texture and yellow color (due to high vitamin A content - a necessity for a baby's immune system) and the small quantity produced to match the newborn’s stomach’s size. The breast continues to produce colostrum milk until three to five days after birth. The breast then begins to produce transitional milk characterized by large amounts and ingredients similar to colostrum milk and mature milk. As the baby continues to breastfeed and empty the breast, the milk ingredients change until the mother's milk becomes "mature,” which lasts throughout the lactation period until weaning.

The size and capacity of the baby's stomach

During the first 24 hours after delivery, an infant’s stomach capacity is between 5-7 ml, gradually increasing to 40-60 ml seven days after delivery. After that, it grows until it reaches between 90-120 ml by the end of the first month until the sixth month.

When do I begin breastfeeding my baby after birth?

The World Health Organization (WHO) And UNICEF recommend early initiation of breastfeeding within the first one hour after birth, continuing breastfeeding, and placing the baby on the mother's breast every two hours during the first days after delivery.

How often should I breastfeed my baby per day?

Specialists recommend keeping the baby on the breast continuously for the first few days after birth. This ensures that the number of feeds is not less than eight and may reach 12 or more within 24 hours, as continuity of breastfeeding is vital during the first days for the establishment and support of milk production. The infant should be placed on the breast every two hours during the day and, at most, every four hours at night. As the child ages, the number of daily breastfeeds increases until we reach a number equal to the child's stomach capacity while covering their needs.

How long is one breastfeeding session?

It all depends on the breastfeeding cycle in the first few days post-delivery. The breastfeeding cycle is as follows:

  • Make your baby is on the breast (any side) for as long as needed;

  • Make sure to pay attention to the baby’s suckling, characterized by deep sucks with consistent swallowing;

  • Once the sucking has turned into repeated short sucks not separated by swallowing, transfer your baby to the other breast and continue until they signify that they are full.

The duration of one feed depends on several factors, such as the infant’s age, the effectiveness of their sucking, the feeding time, the size of the baby's stomach, and if the child is hungry or wants to breastfeed for relaxation only.

A study in Sweden gathered 509 infants to analyze the breastfeeding patterns in infants. The results showed (based on a 24-hour cycle) that breastfeeding duration during the day ranged from 20 minutes to 4 hours and 35 minutes, and at night from less than an hour to 2 hours and 8 minutes. The study concluded that every mother-infant pair should be understood as a unique dyad throughout the lactation period; each team differs from the other throughout their breastfeeding journey. (3)

So dear mother, here are a few of the most common breastfeeding questions answered. Knowing these facts can help you start the breastfeeding journey the right way and continue breastfeeding to benefit you and your baby.

From the Mommy Zone team, we are always here for you.


  1. WHO | Early initiation of breastfeeding to promote exclusive breastfeeding

  2. Breastfeeding from the first hour of birth: What works and what hurts | UNICEF

  3. Hörnell, A. et. al. (2007), Breastfeeding patterns in exclusively breastfed infants: a longitudinal prospective study in Uppsala, Sweden. Acta Pediatrica Nurturing the Child.

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