How Often Should a Breastfed 4-Month-Old Eat?

It is impossible to determine the amount of milk a breastfed baby is getting. For this reason, many parents may wonder if their baby is getting enough -- or perhaps even too much -- breast milk. To add to this confusion, feeding patterns change and you can expect one of these changes around 4 months of age. The good news is, you can almost always count on your baby to let you know when she's full or when she needs more.

Breastfeeding is a great way to bond with your baby. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Breastfeeding Exclusively

Parents are advised to start introducing solid foods between the ages of 4 and 6 months. In fact, according to MedicalNewsToday.com, waiting until your baby is 6 months old is likely not the best option. This is because introducing your baby to solid foods lets her experience new tastes and textures. The sooner she is exposed to these different tastes and textures, the more likely she is to have healthier eating habits as she gets older. When determining how much your 4-month-old should breastfeed, you have to consider the amount of solid foods she's eating.

How Often?

Breastfed newborns may want to be fed up to 12 times per day. According to the National Institutes of Health, this changes around the age of 4 months. In fact, your baby may cut the number in half, only wanting to nurse four to six times per day. It is likely, though, that the length of these feedings will increase. Keep in mind, if you have decided to introduce solid foods to your 4-month-old, it may decrease the amount of breastfeeding your baby requires. These foods may include infant cereal and baby food. If you are introducing these solid foods in very small quantities, your baby's nursing needs may not change much.

Is Your Baby Getting Enough?

Asking yourself some simple questions can help you determine if your baby is getting enough when breastfeeding. For example, is she gaining weight? Breastfed babies gain an average of 1 to 2 lbs. per month for the first six months. If your baby is in this range, she is likely getting enough breast milk. Another consideration is the amount of dirty diapers you are changing. While the normal range for babies is a very wide one, if you are changing several dirty diapers a day, you know your child is getting proper nutrition.

The Bottom Line

On average, a 4-month-old baby wants to breastfeed about five times per day. The introduction of solid foods may change this. Let your baby tell you when she wants to eat. As long as your baby is gaining weight, seems happy and is making dirty diapers, there should be no need to worry. If she seems lethargic, isn't dirtying diapers or is losing weight, contact her pediatrician. Your baby's doctor can discuss her diet with you and check for any underlying problems.

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