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Length of Each Feeding

It is not the length of time at the breast that is important, but how much breastmilk your baby is drinking.

It is important that you breastfeed your child as often and as your child wants, ensuring 8 or more feedings in 24 hours.  Allow your child to nurse as long as he wants at each feeding. 

The length of time your infant/child nurses will depend on several factors, including:

  • How old your child is
  • How well you child is removing milk from your breasts today
  • What time of day it is
  • How hungry your child is
  • How alert your child is

To make the most of each feeding time, here are some tips for you to follow:    

  • Have your child skin-to-skin with you while breastfeeding
  • Offer the first breast, ensuring that your child is latched onto your breast correctly and is actively sucking and swallowing during the feed
  • When sucking and swallowing slows, breast compressions can be applied to the breast while the baby is breastfeeding to increase and maintain milk flow and to keep baby swallowing. This is especially helpful to keep a sleepy baby drinking. Remember that your breast is never totally “empty” – more milk is always being produced.
  • Try and burp child, then latch to the second breast
  • Offer both breasts at each feeding. Your child may seem less interested in the second breast and may nurse for a shorter time on this side, if at all.
  • Some babies are not satisfied after the second breast and need to go back to the first again.
  • At your next feeding time, begin by offering the breast that feels the most full.
  • Remember that some feeds will last longer than others
  • Cluster feeding is common for infants and often occurs in the evening hours into the early hours of the night.  This time may be a fussier time for your child, and you may worry that he seems unsatisfied or that you are not producing enough breast milk. 
  • Cluster feeding is normal for young babies.
  • While some infants' sucking needs are met primarily during feedings, other babies may need additional sucking at the breast soon after a feeding even though they are not really hungry.
  • Babies may also breastfeed when they are lonely, frightened or in pain.


Remember, watch your baby’s cues not your clock.

For more information on feeding your baby/child in Simcoe Muskoka, please contact your health care provider or contact Health Connection by calling 1-705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., by email or connect with us wherever you are on Facebook or Twitter.

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If you have any questions or concerns that require a response, please contact Health Connection directly.

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