View Full Version : How long to breastfeed
I know this sounds like a ridiculous question but I have had so much conflicting advice. I have a 4 week old bub and she feeds every 3 hours for up to an hour at a time. I have a horrible suspicion that most of the later sucking is just her using my nipple as a dummy, but being a first time Mum its hard to tell! How long should she should be feeding for her to get the right amount - I know all babies are different but what is the "average"!?
I went through exactly the same thing with my bub - my CHN told me to tickle bub's feet or touch her head to keep her awake and "on the job".
It should take 20 mins to half an hour a side when Mum and Bub are learning how to BF. (I had one session in the early days where bub was on one side for a whole hour - like you say, it's hard to know how long to let them feed for at the beginning!)
When you think she has finished feeding, remove her from the nipple - slip a finger into her mouth to break the suction - otherwise, you will hurt your nipple.
Don't worry, these long feeds don't last forever, my bub is now nearly five months, and it only takes 10 mins a side - hurray! (I think the feeds started getting shorter around 2 months).
Your not alone. My bub now 10 months would regularily have long feeds of an hour. It would drive me nuts. Part of the problem was that she was falling asleep on the feed but they can continue sucking so i was never sure if she was actually asleep or not.
The suggestion to tickle their foot or ear is a great one as it also worked for me. Unfortunately my DD has always had rather long feed but is now down to 20 minutes or so which is much better.
Its certainly draining when you feed so often for so long, but it will get better. A nap and comfort sucking is probably the cause.
Tayla's Mum 17/9/04 :p
My little boy used to feed for an hour every 3 hours too. Watch for the ears wiggling...I was told that meant he was sucking. I found I had to jiggle him awake every now and again, or talk to him to rouse him....pat him....etc to keep him on the job. I used 20 minutes as a guide. I figured after 20 minutes I could change his nappy which would rouse him....then change sides..feed for another 20 minutes. All up the whole process took about an hour total. Take heart...it gets better as they get bigger. Later he would be done in about 1/2 an hour.
I too had this problem and like everyone else the feeding times got shorter as she got more efficient and didn't fall asleep on the job - for my bub that was at about 3months. During feeding I used all the techniques above to keep my baby awake, I also used a cold facewasher, and dabbed it on bubs face.
I read that it take between 8 and 15 mins for the breast to empty. I also used 20 mins as standard. Now she pulls off at 10mins but occassionally in the evening she will suck for 40 mins if I let her (and sometimes I do!).
Hang in there, it gets easier!
You have already had good suggestions, but I just wanted to add that what is called non-nutritive sucking, ie comfort sucking, is actually very good for your baby, and is also very good for your milk supply, as the more nipple stimulation you are recieving, the better your milk supply will be.
Nature (and babies) is very clever, and this sometimes overwhelming need your baby has to suck, is helping to ensure its health and well being.
It is pretty intense for the first few months, but really, just trust your baby, and you will be fine.
My son used to feed probably every hour.
Hang in there!
Hang in there! I agree with what Angie said. Bubs get alot of comfort from sucking at the breast (hence the reason they call it 'comfort sucking' :)) This is really important and there is absolutely no reason to stop her doing it! You will probably find that the feeds just get quicker and quicker as she gets older!
It's early days, relax and enjoy listening to and getting to know your beautiful bubba :)
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.1.9 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.