How Long Should You Breastfeed A Newborn On Each Side?

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Breastfeeding can be confusing, especially when it comes to how long you should nurse on each side. This guide breaks down the recommended time for each feeding.

The recommended time for each feeding can vary, but generally, it is recommended to nurse for at least 10-15 minutes on each side.

Breastfeeding is a natural and healthy way to nourish your baby, but it can be confusing to know how long to nurse on each side.

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, there are some general guidelines to follow to ensure your baby is getting enough milk and you are comfortable during feedings.

Also Read: C- section Postpartum Essentials


Give Your Baby Time

Your baby needs lots of time laying skin to skin on your chest to bond with you.

One of the best ways to promote a good latch and establish a solid start in breastfeeding is to allow this immediately after birth.

Also Read Breastfeeding Essentials

Let your baby lay on your tummy just under your breast and wriggle up to your breast to find your nipple naturally this can take around 3 hours for the first feed.

Also Read: Baby Makes Humming Noise While Breastfeeding

Importance Of Nursing On Each Side

Nursing on each side is important for both you and your baby. It helps to ensure that your baby is getting enough milk and that your breasts are being emptied properly, which can help prevent issues like engorgement and mastitis.

Additionally, nursing on each side can help stimulate milk production and ensure that your baby is getting the hindmilk, which is richer in fat and calories.

Pay Attention To Your Baby’s Cues

Aim for 10-15 minutes of nursing on each side but prioritize responding to your baby’s cues. If they seem satisfied or stop actively nursing, it’s permissible to switch sides or conclude feeding. A content baby might be ready for a brief break and diaper change, but stay attuned for fussiness signaling continued hunger, adjusting as some may prefer longer feeding on one side. Remember that every baby’s nursing needs vary; trust your instincts and your baby’s cues, and respond to early hunger signs like head-turning and fist-sucking, as crying indicates late-stage hunger.

Switch Sides if Your Baby is Still Hungry

Also Read: How To Teach A Baby To Chew

Trust your instincts and your baby’s cues to determine the best feeding schedule for you both.

When you are establishing feeding in the first few weeks offering both breasts during them same feed can can stimulate milk production evenly.

Once breastfeeding is more established and your baby has a good strong latch many mothers prefer to start on alternate sides each feed, which allows your baby to get used to both breasts. You can the offer the other breast

Do Babies Breastfeed For Longer As They Get Older?

The duration of breastfeeding on each breast for a 3-6 month old baby can vary.

However, on average, a baby may breastfeed for about 10-20 minutes on each breast during a feeding session.

It’s important to note that this is just a general guideline, and the actual time can vary depending on the baby’s individual needs and feeding efficiency.

Some babies may finish feeding within a shorter time, while others may take longer.

Babies become more efficient at breastfeeding as they grow and develop. They may become more skilled at extracting milk and feeding more efficiently, which can result in shorter feeding durations.

It’s important to watch for signs of satiety and monitor your baby’s weight gain, wet diapers, and overall satisfaction to ensure they are getting enough milk.

During a breastfeeding session once breastfeeding is established, it’s beneficial to allow the baby to feed from one breast until they seem satisfied or show signs of slowing down or detaching naturally.

Then, offer the other breast for additional feeding if the baby still appears hungry.

Remember, every baby is unique, and their feeding patterns can vary. It’s important to follow your baby’s cues, trust your instincts, and seek support from a lactation consultant or healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your baby’s breastfeeding duration or overall feeding habits.

Also Read: Can Babies Have Honey Graham Crackers

Remember, breastfeeding is a unique experience for every mother and baby, so trust your instincts and adjust as needed.

Newborn Breastfeeding Schedule up to 9 months

The first two months of your baby’s life are when they will have most rapid growth in their first year, so it’s important to feed on demand and support frequent feeding when your baby signs of hunger. If you can avoid feeding infant formula during this period and commit to exclusive breastfeeding it helps your body build up a milk supply that’s sufficient for your baby.

Don’t give yourself a hard time if this hasn’t been possible. If you have been unable to feed for a time and want to reestablish breastfeeding a lactation consultant can help you.

  • Newborns should generally breastfeed for 10-15 minutes on each side, every two to three hours, focusing on on-demand feeding in response to their hunger cues. Signs of sufficient nursing include a content baby, consistent weight gain, and increasing wet and dirty diapers (at least one of each per day initially, moving to six wet and four dirty by day four). Trust your instincts, but seek professional guidance from healthcare professionals or lactation consultants as needed.
  • 3-4 Months Old Babies often shorten their feeding times to 5-10 minutes per breast due to becoming more efficient at nursing, with longer intervals between feedings. Always follow the baby’s cues and consult healthcare professionals if concerns arise regarding feeding patterns.
  • 6-9 Months Old Infants usually exhibit altered breastfeeding patterns, with shorter and potentially distracted day sessions due to solid food introduction and increased activity, sometimes compensating with more frequent or longer nighttime sessions. It remains crucial to establish a consistent and responsive breastfeeding routine to ensure adequate nourishment as the baby grows and transitions to consuming more solid foods.

Always prioritize the baby’s cues to guide feeding durations and consult healthcare professionals for any concerns or assistance needed in your breastfeeding journey.

How Many Feeds A Day Should My Newborn Be Having?

Here’s a table showing an approximate range of feeds and sleeps per day for a baby up to 3 months old but at this age your baby won’t have a natural sleep cycle so don’t worry if it varies greatly from day to day.

Age (Months)Feeds per DaySleeps per Day (Naps)Sleep Duration (Total)
0-1 month8-124-614-18 hours
1-2 months7-93-514-17 hours
2-3 months6-83-413-16 hours

Please note that every baby and mother is unique, and these numbers are just approximate ranges. Some babies may feed or sleep more or less frequently based on their individual needs.

Consult with your pediatrician if you have any concerns about your baby’s feeding or sleeping patterns.

Here’s a sample routine of what you could reasonably expect your routine to be like with a 3-6 month old baby

3-6 Months Daily routine

6:00 amWake up and feed
7:00 am – 8:00 amPlaytime and interaction
8:00 am – 9:00 amMorning walk in a stroller or baby carrier
9:00 amWake up and feed
9:30 am – 10:30 amAwake time and developmental activities
10:30 am – 11:30 amNap
11:30 amWake up and feed
12:00 pm – 2:00 pmAwake time and interactive play
2:00 pm – 3:00 pmNap
3:00 pmWake up and feed
3:30 pm – 4:15 pmAwake time and sensory play
4:15 pm – 5:15 pmNap
5:15 pmWake up and feed
6:00 pm – 6:20 pmBathtime and baby massage
6:20 pm – 6:40 pmFamily time and gentle play
6:40 pm – 7:00 pmBedtime routine and wind-down activities
7:00 pmFeed and put baby to bed
7:00 pm – 6:00 amNighttime sleep

Remember, every baby is unique, and their needs may vary. Feel free to adjust the schedule according to your baby’s cues and preferences.

It’s important to maintain a consistent routine and ensure that your baby is getting enough sleep and feeding appropriately throughout the day.

Ensuring Sufficient Nursing in Newborns

To ascertain that your newborn is receiving enough breast milk, observe key signs such as having at least six wet diapers in a day, demonstrating steady weight gain through regular pediatric check-ups, exhibiting softer and less full breasts post-feeding, and appearing content post-nursing. These indicators, along with professional healthcare consultations, help ensure your baby gains essential nutrients, antibodies, and hormones from breast milk for optimal growth and development. Always trust your instincts and seek advice if concerned about your baby’s feeding patterns.

What Affects Duration of Breastfeeding Sessions?

The duration of a breastfeeding session can vary depending on several factors. Understanding these factors can help breastfeeding moms better navigate their feeding journey.

1. Age: The age of the baby plays a role in how long they breastfeed. Newborns often have shorter feeding sessions as their stomachs are small and can fill up quickly. As they grow, their feeding time may gradually increase.

2. Alertness: The baby’s level of wakefulness also affects breastfeeding time. A sleepy baby may take longer to latch and feed, while an alert and hungry baby may finish their feeding session more quickly.

3. Flow of breast milk: The flow of breast milk can impact how long the baby nurses. Some babies may finish feeding in a shorter time if the milk flows quickly, while others may take longer if the flow is slower.

4. Baby’s health: If a baby is unwell or experiencing discomfort, they may nurse for shorter durations. It’s essential to consult a health professional if you suspect any health issues.

5. Latch: A good latch is crucial for effective breastfeeding. If the baby is not latched properly, they may struggle to get enough milk, leading to longer feeding sessions. Seeking help from a lactation consultant or breastfeeding support group can be beneficial in improving the latch.

6. Milk supply: The mother’s milk supply can also impact breastfeeding time. Babies may nurse for longer if the milk supply is low as they try to stimulate more milk production.

In conclusion, the duration of a breastfeeding session is influenced by factors such as age, alertness, flow of breast milk, the baby’s health, latch, and milk supply. Paying attention to your baby’s cues and seeking support from healthcare professionals can help ensure a positive and successful breastfeeding experience for both mom and baby.

When Should You Adjust Your Breastfeeding Routine?

Breastfeeding is a dynamic and ever-changing journey for both mother and baby. As your baby grows and develops, their feeding patterns and needs will naturally evolve. Adjusting your breastfeeding routine to meet these changing demands is essential for both your baby’s nutrition and your own comfort. By understanding the signs and cues your baby gives, you can ensure they receive the appropriate nourishment, whether it means adjusting the duration of each feeding session, increasing frequency, or introducing solid foods. It is important to remember that every baby is unique, so it’s crucial to listen to your baby’s individual needs and consult with a healthcare professional for guidance along the way.

Growth Spurts in Babies

Growth spurts, involving rapid physical and developmental changes, typically occur during a baby’s early stages at common age milestones and can alter their feeding and sleeping patterns. During these periods, babies often exhibit increased hunger, requiring more frequent and longer breastfeeding sessions, and may exhibit changes in sleep habits. Parents should respond by breastfeeding on demand, which also helps adjust the mother’s milk supply to meet the baby’s growing needs. While sleep alterations and fussiness are temporary, patience and attentive care from parents are crucial. Consulting healthcare professionals for concerns or guidance ensures proper navigation through these pivotal developmental periods, ensuring healthy growth for the baby.

Feeding Lengths

Breastfed babies, especially newborns, often experience variable feeding durations, with some instances being notably short or exceptionally long.

Short Feedings:

  • Newborns may have brief, frequent nursing sessions due to their tiny stomachs, a rapid letdown reflex, or simply falling asleep.
  • While short feeds can still deliver the necessary nutrients, persistent concerns about weight gain or wellbeing should be discussed with a healthcare professional.
  • Paying attention to growth charts and overall development, alongside practicing responsive feeding, ensures the baby’s nutritional needs are met.

Long Feedings:

  • Extended nursing sessions, particularly those consistently over 45 minutes, may pose issues like reduced milk supply or breastfeeding challenges, such as sore nipples, engorgement, and mastitis.
  • Seeking advice from lactation experts is vital to assess and address any breastfeeding challenges and safeguard the health and comfort of both mother and baby.

Don’t Stress About Exact Times – Follow Your Baby’s Lead

Bottle vs. Breast Feeding Timings

In both scenarios, attentive care, observing baby’s signals, and obtaining professional guidance ensure a positive breastfeeding journey and adequate nutritional intake for the baby.

Also Read Breastfeeding Essentials

When it comes to feeding time, there are notable differences between bottle feeding and breastfeeding. One of the key factors that affects breastfeeding time is the flow of milk from the breast. Breastfed babies have to adjust their suck speed to match the flow of milk from their mother’s breast. The milk initially flows slowly and then gradually increases in volume and speed.

Do Babies Breastfeed For Longer As They Get Older

Also Read: C- section Postpartum Essentials

Aside from the flow of milk, several other factors influence a baby’s feeding time. Age plays a role, as newborn babies tend to have shorter feeding sessions compared to older infants. A baby’s level of alertness also matters, as a sleepy baby may take longer to feed.

Also Read: Baby Makes Humming Noise While Breastfeeding

The latch is another crucial factor affecting feeding time. A poor latch can make it difficult for the baby to effectively remove milk from the breast, leading to longer feedings. Additionally, the mother’s milk supply is a significant determinant of feeding time. If the baby is not getting enough milk during each feeding, they may need to nurse for a longer duration.

Overall, breastfeeding time can vary based on various factors, including the age and alertness of the baby, the flow of milk, the baby’s health condition, the latch, and the milk supply. It is important for breastfeeding mothers to pay attention to these factors and consult with healthcare professionals or lactation consultants if they have any concerns about feeding time or their baby’s nutrition.

Also Read: How To Teach A Baby To Chew

Breastfeeding Difficulties

When to Call the Doctor?

If your baby has had less wet diapers, or dry diapers for longer than normal, has a sunken fontanel, is newborn or premature and not taking liquids, or if your are concerned for any other reason.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to breastfeeding, it’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. While it’s helpful to have a general guideline for how long to nurse on each side, it’s more important to pay attention to your baby’s cues and adjust accordingly.

Some babies may nurse for shorter periods of time but more frequently, while others may nurse for longer periods of time but less frequently.

As long as your baby is gaining weight and producing enough wet and dirty diapers, trust that you are providing enough milk and follow your baby’s lead.

Don’t stress about exact times or schedules, and remember that breastfeeding is a natural and intuitive process for both you and your baby.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Frequently Should I Breastfeed?

This really depends on each baby. when baby’s are efficient at breastfeeding most get what they need in 10/15 minutes

When Should I Swap Breasts?

After 10-15 minutes if your baby is showing signs of saity, such as pulling away from the breast, sleepiness, bump them and change their nappy, let them have a little kick out and try the other side. If they feed less on this side offer this same side first at the next feed.

How Do I measure Time Between Feedings?

Measure the time from when your baby begins to nurse.

Also Read: Can Babies Have Honey Graham Crackers

Why Might My Baby Be Hungrier Than Usual?

Normally this is dues to growth spurts.

Breastfeeding can be confusing, especially when it comes to how long you should nurse on each side. This guide breaks down the recommended time for each feeding.