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How long should a breast-feeding session last?

Updated on November 7, 2010

According to medical providers and lactation consultants, a breast-feeding session should typically last 50 minutes to 1 hour. The baby should have 25 minutes of feeding on each side -the left breast and the right breast.

In that time, the baby might only get 2-4 ounces of milk to drink. You will not be able to measure precisely how much milk your baby has gotten but you can estimate and expressing your milk occasionally might give you a better idea.


It is important to allow extra time if your baby clearly appears to fall asleep sometimes while feeding.

You can nudge your baby or tickle his or her toes/feet to stir the baby awake. You might also gently blow on the baby's hair/forehead. If the baby remains in a deep sleep, you can put him or her down to rest and continue the breastfeeding session later.


Many breastfeeding mothers spend 8-12 hours per day breastfeeding especially if this is their main way of feeding their babies with little or no formula supplementng.


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    • Journey * profile imageAUTHOR

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 

      7 years ago from USA

      Hi MellyMoo, thanks so much for commenting and based on your experiences I definitely would encourage you to write about this too. I would be sure to come by and read your article. I must say that this is most based on advice I received myself when my baby was newborn. I also wrote the article back then but now I too would add that I do agree with you about the stages. An older baby drinks the milk faster and seems less likely to fall asleep while drinking. This does shorten time a bit.

    • MellyMoo profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      Journey, your hub is interesting! I breastfed all of mine and found there was no particular time that should be adhered to and infact the time changed all the time, according to the needs and stage of the baby. I do remember some huge breastfeeding sessions, and some would seen to happen when I was trying to get out of the house in the morning! but sometimes my baby would only feed 10 minutes on one side, for instance. It is important to remember that the baby will take what he/she needs ... ie. if they are thirsty, they will only suck for say 10mins as they will get the watery milk. The longer they suck, the thicker the milk becomes. I think I could actually write my own hub on b/feeding and maybe I will. Thanks for sharing your opinion


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