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Length of 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  

It is important that you breastfeed your child as often as your child wants, ensuring about 8-12 feedings in 24 hours.  Allow your child to nurse as long as he wants at each feeding. 

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
  • Feed your child on this first breast until his sucking and swallowing slows.  You can use breast compressions to ensure that your child removes as much milk as possible from this first side if your child seems sleepy or disinterested.  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.
  • At your next feeding time, begin by offering the breast that the child finished on at the previous feed, or the side that feels the most full.
  • Remember that some feeds will last longer than others
  • Cluster feeding (shorter, more frequent feeds) 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, and is often followed by a period of longer sleep – your baby may be filling himself up for a good night’s rest (4-5 hours for newborns).  Suckling at the breast also provides comfort to your child.
For more information about feeding your child, call 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 and speak with a public health professional Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or email Health Connection
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