GIVEAWAY & Convo with Heather Kelly: How Long Should a Breastfeeding Take?

{disclosure : written by guest writer | i am a bravado ambassador }

How long a feeding should take, is one of the most common questions of women who are new to breastfeeding. When you are just starting out you may not know what to expect, and how long to plan for a feeding. Having a little bit of information at your disposal will give you confidence. The first thing you should know is that there is no one “set” amount of time for a feeding. Every baby is different, including your own, from day to day. However,  there are guidelines for what to expect.

In general, in the first several weeks of your baby’s life, a feeding at the breast should take anywhere from 20 to 50 minutes. This includes time for gently waking a sleepy baby, burping and diaper changes.

If the feedings you and your baby are having are shorter, your baby may not be getting filled up. This means you’ll probably be feeding your baby again, very shortly. This happens most frequently with newborns that fall asleep too early into the feeding before they’re actually full.

Some of your feedings may also take longer than an hour. Many newborns nurse for a while and then have some ‘awake’ time where they stop feeding, hiccup and look around. This alert time is when your baby gets to look around and get a look at you! Most likely they’ll need another five minutes or so of feeding afterward, to fully fill them up, as well as transition from waking time to sleeping time. It’s not unusual to spend an hour and a half feeding and bonding with your baby on these occasions.

While 20-50 minutes per feeding is a guideline, always make sure your baby has had a good, complete feeding. Check to make sure that he is swallowing regularly throughout and not just sucking.

In the first few weeks of your baby’s life, expect to feed your baby 8-12 times in a 24 hour period. This averages out to feeding every 2-3 hours (including at night). But remember – newborns cannot tell time. Some feedings may be closer together and some may have a bigger break in between. The important thing is to feed your baby when they are hungry – they’ll let you know!

Tips to success:

  • Newborns feed for an average of 20-50 minutes per feeding.
  • Try not to time the feeding; rather look for signs that your baby has had a good, filling meal.
  • Some feedings may take as long as 1½ hours as they include your newborn’s alert time, enjoy this time together!

This information is courtesy of Bravado Designs,  the brand synonymous with nursing women and their success for eighteen years.

Heather Kelly is a Lactation Consultant and specialist for Bravado Designs. Heather is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant practicing in NYC since 2001.

Want to learn more?

GIVEAWAY: We’re thrilled to offer to (1) of our lucky readers a chance to win their choice of Bravado Design’s Nursing Bra.  To ENTER, from now until March 1st, fill out this FORM and let us know your tip for breastfeeding on the go.  Get up to (two) bonus entry if you follow me on twitter @momconfessional and re-tweet this giveaway (Win a Bravado Nursing Bra or Top @momconfessional as well as becoming a fan on Facebook. DON’T FORGET to let me know by leaving a separate entry for each action. Giveaway only open to those with U.S. addresses. Giveaway ends on March 1st at 11:59 EST. A winner will be selected randomly by and notified by e-mail.

About Suzanne Chan

Suzanne is student, daughter, wife, (labor & delivery) certified registered nurse, certified lactation counselor, friend, entrepreneur and blogger – but the job she's most proud of is mother… She shares her journey on this blog and The Disney Files. Read more about her here.


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