The number of feeds in the twenty-four hours must be arranged according to the age of the infant, and the times fixed must be closely adhered to. It is very rarely that one meets with an infant who is not being fed often enough, while one is constantly coming across infants who are being fed much too frequently. The interval between meals should be long enough to allow of complete digestion, and of emptying of the stomach, and of a period of rest for the stomach. As a rule during the first month of life these requirements will be met by feeding every two hours during a day of sixteen hours, i.e. from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. It is beneficial for the child that during the night of eight hours only one feed should be given, at 3 a.m., thus giving two intervals of four hours for a little extra rest to the stomach. While a minimum of two hours' interval should be insisted on, in the case of healthy children the maximum may often be extended to two and a half or three hours during the day, even in the early weeks of life. If it is found that a child will sleep for this longer period and will then take a feed, without any sign of overloading of the stomach, the individual tendency should be considered rather than any hard and fast rule. It is of extreme importance that the times of feeding, after having been fixed, should be rigidly adhered to. Habit is easily established, in the breast as regards the secretion of milk, and in the infant as regards the desire for food, and much trouble will be spared to mother and child by forming regular habits early. If the infant be asleep when the feeding time comes he should be wakened and fed. If he cries before feeding time he is not to be fed, but an examination should be made as to other causes of discomfort, local or general. A nurse should be able to distinguish between the peevish or irritable cry of discomfort or pain, and the healthy piping with which an infant demands more food. In hot weather more especially a common cause of crying is thirst and not hunger, and to relieve this plain water or barley-water may be given between meals. As the infant grows the intervals between meals should be lengthened and the number of meals diminished. The following table shows approximately the indications as to feeding times in a healthy infant.

Number Of Meals And Hours Of Feeding For Breast- Or Bottle-Fed Babies

By Day.

(16 hours). Interval.

By Night (8 hours). Interval.

Number of

Meals in 24


Up to 3 months ....

2 -2 1/2 hours

4 hours


Between 3 and 6 months

2 1/2-3 „

4 „


" 6 " 9 "

3 „

8 „


" 9 " 12 "

3 1/2-4 „

9 „