Skip Navigation
  Print Page

When should I breastfeed my infant?

Skip sharing on social media links
Share this:

Healthy infants will develop their own feeding schedules, and you should follow your infant's cues for when he or she is ready to eat.1 Feedings may last 15 to 20 minutes or longer per breast. There is no set length of feeding—your infant will let you know when he or she is finished.

The number of times that you breastfeed your infant per day and the time of day depend on your infant's age and the infant's preference. A newborn will need to be fed eight to 12 times per day.2 This means that your infant will likely need to breastfeed about every hour or two in the daytime and a couple of times at night during the first few days after birth.3


  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office on Women's Health. (2010, August 1). Breastfeeding: Learning to breastfeed. Retrieved April 27, 2012, from http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/learning-to-breastfeed [top]
  2. MedlinePlus. (2012, April 19). Age-appropriate diet for children. Retrieved April 27, 2012, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002455.htm [top]
  3. HHS Office on Women's Health. (2010, August 1). Breastfeeding: Learning to breastfeed. Retrieved April 27, 2012, from http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/learning-to-breastfeed [top]

Last Updated Date: 11/30/2012
Last Reviewed Date: 12/19/2013
Vision National Institutes of Health Home BOND National Institues of Health Home Home Storz Lab: Section on Environmental Gene Regulation Home Machner Lab: Unit on Microbial Pathogenesis Home Division of Intramural Population Health Research Home Bonifacino Lab: Section on Intracellular Protein Trafficking Home Lilly Lab: Section on Gamete Development Home Lippincott-Schwartz Lab: Section on Organelle Biology