Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."


Question: I was told that I should feed my 3 month old baby every 4 hours, whether or not he is acting hungry. Lately, he has been putting up a fight. I am afraid that eating will become a negative thing for him. He is breastfeeding and weighs 17 pounds. What do you suggest I do? Should I feed him on demand? How far should I let him go between feedings? He can go 8 hours during the night without eating. - Deborah

Answer: Congrats! Your baby is getting one of the best starts in life! Human milk is nature's perfect food!

Until your milk flows freely, there may be times when the "letdown" does not occur spontaneously. Remember, the more your baby feeds, the more quickly a routine will follow. Nature follows a pattern of the "supply and demand." All this means is that when a "routine" becomes established, your breasts will adjust to the milk that your baby needs.

Having sore breasts is fairly common. I don't know of any way to avoid having some soreness. You can avoid having severely cracked nipples by alternating the feeding side. Try to remember which breast you fed with last. And remember also that the majority of milk is drained out fairly quickly. In early breastfeeding, it sometimes takes less than 10 minutes to empty the milk from a breast. Remember to alternate and not have you baby suckle more than 10 to 15 minutes each side. Any more than that is similar to a pacifier. The nutrition has already been obtained!

Please understand that if you feel comfortable feeding longer, by all means, do so. The bonding process is incredible. I'm sure you'll agree. Please speak to your doctor if your breasts are very uncomfortable. A warm shower is very helpful, as well as warm compresses. In the beginning, breasts are sometimes uncomfortable. With time, your body will adjust and you will be more comfortable.

Drink plenty of fluids. You don't have to drink milk to produce milk!

Great job MOM!

Also see:

  • Breastfeeding when baby isn't hungry?
  • Can a pediatrician comfortably prescribe and manage ADHD medication or is it better suited to a psychiatrist?
  • Ask Dr. Betti your questions

    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.