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What Do Normal Infant Feeding Patterns Really Look Like?

by Prof. Amy Brown, PhD, Professor
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 L-CERP
  • Handout: Yes

We know that responsive feeding gets breastfeeding off to the best start. New parents are told that breastfed babies often feed 8 – 12 times a day, but in practice many new mothers will find themselves breastfeeding more frequently than this. Research exploring breastfeeding frequency is however conducted primarily with younger infants, focuses simply on breast versus bottle, or was funded by industry.

This presentation reports novel findings from a research study of 18,000+ mothers with a baby or child aged 0 – 5 years old. It examines how often babies feed during the day and night for each age range by milk feeding type, mode, and approach (e.g. schedule versus responsive) and how frequent day and night feedings remain the norm for breastfed babies into the preschool years. The data also explores differences in maternal perceptions of infant variations in hunger e.g. in response to growth spurts, variations over different days, and cluster feeding, highlighting how breastfeeding mothers describe a more varied pattern of infant feeding compared to those formula feeding.

Together the findings challenge notions that most babies breastfeed between 8 – 12 times per 24 hour and that irregular patterns or varied numbers of feeds are normal for breastfed infants. Although many breastfeeding practitioners will recognise this pattern, these findings will provide both an addition and challenge to the scarce existing research literature on infant feeding patterns.

Learning Objectives:

Objective 1: List normal patterns of infant feeding by milk type and mode between 0 - 5 years

Objective 2: Describe the differences in maternal perceptions about the variation in milk feeding patterns e.g. in response to cluster feeds and growth spurts

Objective 3: Analyze the drivers and impact of feeding schedules upon feeding frequency and breastfeeding rates

Objective 4: Explain on the importance of public health messaging around normal breastfed baby feeding patterns

Presentations: 29  |  Hours / CE Credits: 27.0  |  Viewing Time: 8 Weeks
Presentations: 1  |  Hours / CE Credits: 1  |  Viewing Time: 2 Weeks