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How Long Should Breastfeedings Be?

Learn how long feedings should be from lactation consultant Melissa K. Nagin in this Howcast video.


Feedings should last as long as the baby wants to stay on. So, we usually say that they're baby led feedings. We might want to make a general note of the time saying "Okay, this feeding started at 7:00, and I know by 10:00 the next one's going to have to start again." I don't want anybody obsessing over clocks and how long the baby's feeding. There are going to be babies that are going to be done in 10 minutes, there are going to be babies who are going to be done in 45. If it starts to edge closer and closer to the hour mark, and they're feeding every hour on the hour, then you need to call a lactation consultant in to see what's happening with your supply, or what's happening with the feeding.

But generally speaking, do not worry about how long the baby's feeding if the baby's doing everything they need to. If they're peeing, they're pooping, and they're gaining weight, and the feeding is 10 minutes long, we don't worry about it. If their color is good, they're not yellow and jaundice, which in the very beginning is very, very normal to have a breast feeding jaundice. If their color is good, if they're happy when they wake up, if they're feeding well, they're doing their thing behaviorally, developmentally, they're hitting all of their markers, we're not worried at all about how long they stayed on for. If you get to the point, and most moms in the very beginning you can't even see to tomorrow, after the six week mark, they really start to shorten their feeds.

They become very efficient feeders, and they might be done in five minutes, and that's very, very normal as well. So, for those who have newborns, and they're looking for, "Oh my God, when are these 45 minute long feedings going to end?" They do end, and they will really get shorter, and much more efficient by the six week mark.

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