Accidentally Went 6 Hours Without Breastfeeding? Don’t Panic!

Breastfeeding is an essential part of a newborn’s life. Breast milk provides all the necessary nutrients that a baby needs to grow and develop. The breastfeeding relationship also helps strengthen the bond between mother and baby. However, breastfeeding can be complicated and stressful. There may be instances when a mom finds that she accidentally went 6 hours without breastfeeding her baby. Don’t panic! In this article, we will discuss what moms should do if they find themselves in this predicament.

To begin with, it is imperative to understand that missing a feeding session once in a while is unlikely to cause any harm to the baby or the mom. We’ll say it again: accidentally going 6 hours without breastfeeding once or twice will not harm your baby or your milk supply. However, if you frequently miss breastfeeding sessions, it may affect milk production, and your baby may not receive enough milk, leading to malnourishment (an extreme circumstance). Therefore, it is crucial to try and maintain a consistent feeding schedule of every 2-3 hours.

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To repeat it again (because we know you need to hear it) if a mom has accidentally gone 6 hours without breastfeeding, she should not panic. It is essential to remember that breastfeeding is a natural process, and the baby will not starve because of missing one feeding session. You should try to feed the baby as soon as possible and ensure that your baby is well-hydrated in the meantime (i.e. has plenty of wet diapers).

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If your baby slept through the night, is less than six months old and is exclusively breastfed, try to breastfeed your baby as soon as possible. If your baby is a newborn and is back at their birth weight or weighs more than their birth weight, you can let your baby sleep. Try manual expression using a hand pump (such as this one available on Amazon) to relieve engorgement if you are uncomfortable. However, if your baby is having trouble with weight gain, make sure to wake your baby up to nurse as soon as you can. Your baby will need to eat.

Related article: Do I Need to Pump at Night if Baby Sleeps Through the Night?

It is also essential to keep in mind that your baby’s hunger cues may vary, and you may not always be able to tell when your baby is hungry (especially if they are asleep). Therefore, it is crucial to offer your breast to your baby frequently, even if the baby does not seem to be hungry. This will help maintain your milk production, allow your baby to practice latching, and ensure that baby is well-fed.

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If you frequently miss breastfeeding sessions or have difficulty maintaining a consistent feeding schedule, reach out to a lactation consultant. A lactation consultant can offer advice and support to help you establish a feeding routine. This will help prevent you from accidentally going 6 hours without breastfeeding or pumping.

Related article: The 5 Best Bottles for Breastfed Babies

Missing a breastfeeding session once in a while is unlikely to cause any harm to you or your baby. However, if you frequently miss breastfeeding sessions, it may affect milk production, and the baby may not receive enough milk. Try and maintain a steady feeding schedule of every 2-3 hours, and seek help if necessary. Breastfeeding is a natural process, but it can be rocky at first when finding your rhythm. The good news is the older your baby gets, the easier it becomes. Practice really does make perfect!

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Shannon Tisdale
Shannon founded Work Breastfeed Mom in 2019 during her second round of pumping at work. She was tired of googling the same pumping questions over and over again, and discouraged at the lack of websites aimed at working breastfeeding moms. So, she created one herself. Shannon lives, works, and doles out Puffs to her little people in sunny Florida. She has her MBA and works as a strategic planner for a large healthcare system. She is passionate about coffee, memoirs, paddle boarding, and skincare routines. Shannon is mom to Scarlett and Ivy, and hopes to have more babies if her career allows.