updated 23 Jan 2011, 09:45
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Sun, Jan 23, 2011
Young Parents
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Why is my newborn always hungry?
by Elisa Chia

For many new mums, the baby’s first month seems like an endless round of feeding and expressing their breast milk.

While it’s the best nourishment a baby can get, some abandon breastfeeding because they believe their milk supply is insufficient.

“That’s why your son is crying and hungry again,” your well-meaning but ignorant relatives may tell you.

But frequent feeding is normal, assures Cynthia Pang, senior lactation consultant at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Newborns may nurse eight to 12 times a day during the first few weeks.

You may start by letting Baby suckle for about 15 minutes on each breast, then vary the time according to his needs.

Once your milk supply is established, breastfeeding should be “on demand” when he is hungry, which is about every one to three hours.

In fact, newborns should not go more than about four hours without feeding.

If this happens, wake Baby up every three hours to feed him.

And if he falls asleep while feeding, gently massage his arms or legs to rouse him.

“It may be very tiring, but after a month or two, your baby will settle down to a schedule,” says Cynthia.

But surely my A-cups will not produce a good supply, you wonder at the back of your mind.

Cynthia rubbishes the notion, saying: “The size of one’s breasts does not dictate one’s ability to produce milk and breastfeed.

Rather, it is the amount of milk glands in each breast that is important.”

It’s also important to watch for signs that your baby is full – you will notice slow, uninterested sucking and turning away from the breast or bottle.

Stop feeding when you see these signs.

“It’s all right for Baby to suckle for comfort occasionally. But don’t let it happen too often or Mum will have sore nipples, and she will not be able to rest comfortably or get on with her life,” offers paediatrician Dr Loke Hing Leng.


Get a copy of the Jan 2010 issue of Young Parents for expert advice and local tips to make you a better mum or dad. Young Parents, published by SPH Magazines, is available at all newsstands now. Check out more stories at Young Parents online,

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