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How long should a breastfeeding session last?

My 6 day old is a feeding time sleeper, as soon as he latches on he decides to nap..... no problem wake him up and he's back right where he left off. He never stops sucking, even after 45 mins. everything I read says let the baby be your guide as to how long a feeding should last, but I need to know a number. How long is there a substantial flow if the baby was feeding solidly at an average pace? i know its different for everyone, but a ball park figure would be great. My nipples thank you. Ive been feeding for 20 minutes then switching to the other side, I'm so sore and cracked, I can't take it anymore!!!


Asked by Christina2135 at 2:46 PM on Jan. 29, 2009 in Babies (0-12 months)

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Answers (8)
  • when they say all babies are different, they really do meen it. my son only does the first side for 5 minutes, and then the other side for like 2 minutes. He only eats every 2-3 hours. He is getting more than enouph to eat. the doctor whieghed him befor and after, and he took in 2 and a half ounzes in 5 minutes. it depends on your flow, and how much your baby can swallow. you may want to watch his/her temples and throte. you should be able to see his temple area pulseing with every gulp, and his throte should be like a bull frog, like a double chin. you may even be able to hear him swallow. if this is not happening, then he may just be sucking, but not eating very much. I would ask the doctor to weigh him befor and after every 10 minutes to see how much he is taking in.

    Answer by momofaprodigy at 3:38 PM on Jan. 29, 2009

  • I believe its 10 minutes on each side to begin with. And in these first few weeks you need to nudge his cheeks/chin to keep him awake and sucking. And you should be feeding him every 2 hours. The time starts from the time he STARTs feeding.

    Answer by MamaChamp at 2:49 PM on Jan. 29, 2009

  • typically 15 to 20 mins a side is normal. Make sure when you latch him off you let your nipples air dry and to help them heal express alittle milk and rub on them and then let them dry. If that doesnt them feel better and heal they make a breastfeeding creme thats safe to use and you dont have to wipe it off befor each feeding.
    Also make sure you are getting him latched on correctly that might be why you are sore and cracked he may not be latched on rght. Good luck and hang in there if you can make it through the first 2 weeks you are usually in the clear and good to go.

    Answer by Mommy2B04 at 2:51 PM on Jan. 29, 2009

  • I use to do 20 min per side unless DS dictated otherwise. Here is a great article about waking sleepy baby (as you know very normal behavior). If your nipples are cracking don't forget to let them air dry with breastmilk on the nipples, don't wash them and use lanolin cream.


    Answer by Anonymous at 2:55 PM on Jan. 29, 2009

  • yes 15-20 minutes per side is right! Sorry about that!

    Answer by MamaChamp at 3:00 PM on Jan. 29, 2009

  • everytime a baby sucks he or she is getting milk.
    don't watch the clock, watch your baby.
    sucking will slow down or stop all together when he is full or starting to get full.
    also remember that even when baby is a sleep he can still suck and swallow the milk.

    Answer by heatherama at 3:04 PM on Jan. 29, 2009

  • 15 minutes, per breast, every 2-4 hours. My lactation consultant says not to allow them more than 20 minutes per breast. Your breasts are never completely empty but chances are that if you go past 20 minutes on one breast, the baby isn't really eating any more, they're just using you as a pacifier. Baby's love to suck and feeding times can really stimulate their desire to keep sucking even after they're done eating. My son can do the same thing sometimes. I wait about 15 minutes on the second breast, wait for his sucks to get weaker, break his suction with my finger, burp him and give him a pacifier. He usually goes to sleep after that.


    Answer by NovemberLove at 3:53 PM on Jan. 29, 2009

  • My little girl is 10 days old and is the same way she will just eat and eat and eat for a few hours if i let her iv been doing 20 mins on each side and she is very happy with that!!

    Answer by scaredmommy08 at 4:11 PM on Jan. 29, 2009