"Reluctant Feeders"

It can be normal for babies to have little interest in feeding in the first 24-48 hours of life, with an average feed frequency of four times in the first 24 hours but seven times in the second 24 hours. BAPM Guidance makes it clear that these infants should be assessed throughly to make sure that they are not disinterested because they are actually unwell, and monitored regularly, but in the absence of risk factors or potential symptoms of hypoglycaemia there is no need to check a blood sugar. These babies should be kept warm, offered the breast at any feeding cues and expressed colostrum given.

The Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative also notes that on day 1 of life, 3-4 feeds in 24 hours can be a normal pattern, whereas after this it would be worrying if a baby was feeding less than 8 times in 24 hours. However more frequent feeds are associated with lower jaundice levels and less weight loss.


Thank you for visiting the Hospital Infant Feeding Network. This website is a repository of relevant knowledge and best practice resources for health professionals. To join the conversation, ask questions and share your experiences please join us on Facebook or Twitter.


We will be running Q&A sessions on various topics, which will be advertised on our social media sites. Please email if you have ideas or want to get more involved. We welcome health professionals passionate about supporting breastfeeding and lactation in the hospital setting to join our steering group, please get in contact if this is you!

You may have noticed that we use 'additive' language on our website to refer to lactation and human milk feeding. This means that we might refer to 'breastfeeding/chestfeeding'. Chestfeeding is a term that some non-binary people use to refer to feeding their child at the chest if the word breast is not congruent with their gender identity. Using additive language helps reduce a feeling of exclusion for non-binary and transgender people, without taking away from the importance of words like breastfeeding and mother. There is a much more detailed description of the additive approach here.

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