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Thread: Long nursing sessions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    16

    Default Long nursing sessions

    My baby is a little over 3 months (14 weeks), and on average each nursing session takes 40-50 minutes. 30 if I'm lucky. She's definitely a comfort nurser and I can tell it turns into that more towards the end. I would just take her off once I notice she is comfort sucking, but I can tell that she's still getting some milk and every now and then another small letdown. I'd say most of the milk is transferred by 15 minutes on each side, so she nutritionally probably doesn't NEED the last 10 minutes on each side.

    However, the problem is... I'm VERY prone to clogged ducts. As in, I'm currently on day 4 of no plugged duct and I'm CELEBRATING. I've had almost 20 in the last 8 weeks, and there were a few weeks where it was almost every day a new plug showed up. I'm well aware of everything that causes them and how to prevent (doing all I can), and I know that not fully emptying the breast can cause them. This is why I'm so scared to pull her off once she is comfort nursing. How do I know when I'm fully emptied? As far as I can tell, you never really ARE fully drained. So why am I told to empty my breasts at each feeding to help prevent plugged ducts?

    Also - how do I KNOW she is done? No matter what, she is upset when she comes off. I think it's mainly because of the comfort nursing, but I really feel as if she'd nurse and drink my milk forever if she could. I don't have time for that

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    2,207

    Default Re: Long nursing sessions

    Hi mama, welcome to the forum. Long nursing sessions are normal. Especially for such a young baby. Later in the year baby will be too busy exploring the world to want to nurse and moms fret about baby not nursing enough! You are correct that the breast is never empty. There is always milk in a lactating breast. So there is no point at which there is "no more milk" when baby "should" stop nursing. I would suggest, nurse your baby as often and as long as she would like. This is great for your nursing relationship, your supply, and your plugged ducts. Set up yourself up to get whatever you can done while on the couch with baby - I'd get myself comfy with computer, phone, something to read and just let baby nurse away. And let go of non-essential stuff - the house can be dirtier than usual. These days will pass, I promise! Baby will become a more efficient nurser and have interests beyond your breasts. In the meantime, nursing IS for nutrition AND comfort AND bonding - those are all really important parts of the breastfeeding relationship for both of you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,615

    Default Re: Long nursing sessions

    with the PP.

    I just want to add that the whole "you must drain the breast thoroughly in order to avoid plugs" advice is the sort of thing where a little knowledge in the hands of some breastfeeding educators has turned out to be a dangerous thing. When a mom has a plug, she should strive to empty the breast as much as possible because maintaining milk flow through the plugged area will eliminate the plug, or prevent the plug from getting worse and possibly turning into mastitis. But a mom with no plugs? She should just leave well enough alone, and allow her baby to manage supply and keep the milk flow going.

    There are so many moms out there driving themselves bonkers over this, pumping at the end of feedings just so they can empty the breast and prevent plugs... And all the pumping can lead to oversupply- which can lead to more plugs!- or to a mom getting too burnt out and too exhausted to continue breastfeeding.

    I totally understand the "I don't have time for that!" feeling. Been there, felt that. My advice is to embrace this fleeting time, because it really is fleeting. Use the time that your baby has you pinned to catch up on your television, read some novels, surf the web. I read multiple novels during the first months of nursing my firstborn. But then, around 4-5 months she discovered that she could get all the milk she needed in around 5-10 minutes, after which she wanted to be up and around and interacting, and I didn't have any more time to read!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

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