Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

What is ‘normal’ in breastfeeding?:

New research helps redefine 'normal' when it comes to breastfeeding.
By Motherpedia
Date: June 03 2014
Editor Rating:

When I breastfeed, how do I know I am doing it right? Is my baby getting enough milk? How often do I need to feed my baby? Why does my friend’s baby not feed as frequently?

These are the types of questions regularly asked by mothers at some stage during their breastfeeding experience. Now, thanks to new studies from leading lactation researcher Jacqueline Kent the boundaries for ‘normal’ breastfeeding have been redefined and these common queries answered.

Kent’s recent analysis and explorations were presented for the first time at the recent Medela International Symposium on Lactation and Breastfeeding. Her findings confirm that there is no breastfeeding norm, no specific pattern that infants will, or need to adopt and certainly no set of rules that benchmark the right way to breastfeed.

The new research explains that every breastfeeding relationship between mother and baby is unique and that it will adapt and change throughout the breastfeeding period. The differences may appear extreme, but are natural and not necessarily an indication of insufficient milk supply or other problems.

Kent’s conclusions will dramatically alter the way health professionals guide mothers in future and will provide a revised understanding for breastfeeding families. Better knowledge of the variability and expected changes in breastfeeding patterns will improve mothers’ confidence about their milk supply.  The results show that:

  • Breastfed infants control their milk intake to match their appetite and growth rate, taking what they need
  • Exclusively breastfed infants normally show a wide variety of breastfeeding patterns

Between one and six months of lactation, breastfed infants take fewer, faster, larger feeds, but their total daily milk intake is constant.

Kent’s findings have highlighted the changes in breastfeeding patterns during a baby’s individual journey, sometimes changing monthly. But they also demonstrate that between infants, there is a wide variety of breastfeeding patterns and that they do not need to conform to an average. '

The significant variability in frequency and volume intake of the healthy, exclusively breastfed infant aged 1 to 6 months is as follows:

  • 4-13 – the number of breastfeeding sessions per day
  • 12-67 minutes – the duration of a breastfeeding session 
  • 54-234ml – volume of milk consumed in a breastfeeding session
  • 478-1356ml – the volume of milk consumed in a 24-hour period.

Kent is hopeful that this knowledge will provide evidence to give health professionals confidence in various feeding situations and to give mothers self-assurance in their role.

"The breastfeeding community must take from this study the understanding that changes in an infant’s breastfeeding behaviours are completely normal, as are differences between babies. They are not an indication of insufficient milk supply," says Jacqueline Kent.

"Lack of milk is often cited as one of the reasons mothers give up breastfeeding; the concern that their baby is not getting milk is naturally a worry. Mothers may think that because their baby is feeding more often it is a sign they are not getting enough each feed, but this is not necessarily the case."

Share This Tweet This Email To Friend
Recent Comments
0 Total Comments
Post a Comment
* your email address will not appear

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

Post a Comment
* your email address will not appear

Please enter the word you see in the image below:33343

Your Comment has been posted
Related Articles
An easy to use device without fuss and mess
Read more
Pregnancy doesn't mean having to put up with aches and…
Read more
How do you gauge whether your baby is too cold…
Read more
These nutritional powerhouses are quick and convenient to help breastfeeding…
Read more
Cry babies

Dry your eyes!
The newest additions are on their way from the Babies who cry real tears!


Latest Tech Used In Shipping Containers
Read how the shipping industry has revolutionised

Motherpedia cover-2

Win 1 set of a 4-book hardcover illustrated boxed set
Barbara Murray’s new 4-book Sound Stories is perfect for parents and educators and could assist with NAPLAN results

Motherpedia cover (4)

Where to celebrate Oktoberfest Australia
Get ready for this celebration!

Motherpedia cover-4

A Fortnight of Foodie Experiences at East Village
A taste of East Village. What's in it for me?

Globber my too fix up cover

We Try: Globber My TOO Fix Up
A scooter that grows with your child

Throw a winning cricket pitch

3 Steps to a Winning Backyard Cricket Pitch
Ex-Adelaide Oval legend curator Les Burdett shares his tips for getting your backyard cricket pitch test match ready this summer

A bike that follows your kids life cycle - motherpedia - cover

A Bike That Follows Your Kids Life Cycle
Check out the Bunzi 2-in-1 gradual balance bike!

Moonlight lifestyle

Moonlight Cinema to bring…
Moonlight Cinema announces brand new Western Sydney venue

Screen shot 2019-11-26 at 8.29.12 am

Your Magical Christmas Wonderland…
Adventure park is about to light up the night sky with its "Christmas Festival of Lights"

Screen shot 2019-11-21 at 11.11.36 am

The Preston Market Gets…
It's time to feel pumped up for the holiday season!


Bunnings team members get…
Help raise funds by buying a snag or donating at your local store.