Brand new nursing moms get a LOT of advice and with so much talk of how long and how much a newborn should be breastfeeding, the No Clock Method might sound a little crazy! But as Heidi Streufert, RN and former La Lache Leauge Leader explains, “My best advice to postpartum parents is to throw away the clock at least for the first few weeks while establishing milk supply and watch the baby’s natural eating and sleeping patterns to emerge.”
To assure baby is feeding often enough, rather than thinking in terms of “feeding every __ hours for ____ minutes,” simply make a check mark for each successful latch with sustained rhythmic sucking during a 24 hour period. Each attempt may *realistically* last anywhere from 45 minutes (for a dyad where there are repeated latch attempts or when supply hasn’t yet met demand in the early days) to as short as 5 (yes five!) minutes for an active full term baby with a good deep latch and adequate supply/fast let-down in mom.
The key is to allow baby to spontaneously release the breast, burp, offer second breast if baby still interested, but no need to worry about “how long” baby was on the breast. At a minimum, baby should have 8 such occurrences, and some babies will have 10-12 (or more) of these breastfeeding sessions on any given day (especially when establishing supply or during growth spurts).
To put this in “Clock Terms” – babies typically feed MORE often than every 3 hours throughout the day and then can often have a slightly longer stretch of sleep between feeds (overnight, ideally!) and a pattern will emerge in the first two weeks that can be made into the ‘routine’ as supply is well-established. Baby’s urine and stool output will be the guide for whether baby is “getting enough milk” and again, this can be a simple check mark at each diaper change. We have a NoClockLog above, but any piece of paper will do- too much focus on “exact recording” isn’t needed!
For more info on early nursing, watch Labor & Delivery Nurse Meghan explain here: