How long is a breastfeeding session? How long do you feed on each breast? These are the commonly asked questions and information on breastfeeding basics for first time moms. As breast milk is easily digested, breast fed babies usually are hungry every few hours at first. During these early days, it may seem that all you do is breastfeeding! Most newborns eat eight to 12 times a day which is about every 2 to 3 hours. By six to eight weeks after birth, your baby will probably begin to go longer between feedings. During growth spurts, your baby may take more at each feeding or want to breastfeed more often. Trust your body’s ability to keep up with the increased demand. The more often your baby nurses, the more milk your breasts produce.
How Long Is A Breastfeeding Session?
In general, let your baby nurse as long as he or she wants. The length of the feedings may vary considerably. However, on average, most babies nurse for about 30 min. Offer your baby both breasts at each feeding. Allow your baby to end the feeding on the first side. Then, after burping your baby, offer the other side. Alternate starting sides to equalize the stimulation each breast receives.
You want baby to finish one breast before switching to the other side because the milk that comes first from your breast, called the foremilk, is rich in protein for growth. But the longer your baby sucks, the more he or she gets the hindmilk, which is rich in calories and fat and therefore helps your baby gain weight and grow. So wait until your baby seems ready to quit before offering him or her your other breast.
How Do I Know Baby Is Getting Enough Milk?
A baby’s need for frequent feeding is not a sign that baby is not getting enough. It reflects the easy digestibility of breast milk. If your baby is satisfied after feeding and is growing, you can be confident that you are doing very well. If you are concerned that baby may not be getting enough milk, ask yourself these questions:
1. Is Baby Growing and Gaining Weight?
2. Do My Breasts Feel Softer or Firm?
3. Can I Hear Baby Swallowing?
4. Does Baby Change Diapers Often?
5. Does Baby Look Healthy?
If you are still having problems breastfeeding, or you are worried that baby is not getting enough milk, ask for help. You know your baby best. If you sense something is not right, don’t be afraid to contact your confinement lady or a lactation consultant. Most hospitals have lactation consultants on staff who can answer your questions or help you resolve any problems you may encounter. Remember that just as your body knows what it is doing during pregnancy and childbirth, your body knows how to support a breastfeeding baby. Have faith in your body’s ability to meet your baby’s nutritional needs.