Baby question: What does feeding every 3 hours mean?

A lot of parents ask me about the timing of breast or bottle-feeding and how they are told to feed every 3 hours. The confusion for most parents lies in whether that is 3 hours from the start of the feed or 3 hours from the end of the feed, cause gosh some of those feeds can last for what feels like forever! So, let’s clear the air! You are supposed to feed an infant every 3 hours counting from the START of one feed to the START of the next (ie. you feed at 9am, 12pm, 3pm etc), no matter how long the feed lasts. I know at the start your babe may feed upwards of an hour, but as time goes by and both you and your baby gain experience, the timing will start to decrease. Soon your feeding session will last 20-30 minutes (maybe longer if you allow your baby to pacify on you after a feed. You can unlatch you baby at this point and give a pacifier if you need a break!). This timing is for both daytime and nighttime feeding. Rest assured, before you know it, your little one will be 4 months old and should be able to sleep through the night without a feed. If an infant wants to feed during the night after this time, this is more of a trained behaviour rather than a physiological need. Feeding is a schedule like anything else and you will get the hang of it! Remember, this is also a time for bonding between a parent and child no matter what your feeding choice is, so indulge and take advantage of this special time!

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