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Thread: Duration of Nursing

  1. #1

    Default Duration of Nursing

    My 6.5 week old takes at least an hour to nurse every time. I don't mind most the time the only problem is I feel like I can never get out of the house because I'd have to nurse for an hour wherever I go as opposed to just a quick trip to the back room or car or wherever to nurse. We've introduced a bottle of expressed milk to get her used to the bottle for when I go back to work and she takes just as long to drink 3oz from the bottle.

    She does fall asleep a lot and we're constantly waking her up. I don't mind the cuddles but I'm afraid she'll associate my boobs with sleeping and snacking.

    Do you have any tips to making her nurse quicker?

    She's healthy with plenty pee and poo diapers and had gained 2lbs at her one month check up.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    41

    Default Re: Duration of Nursing

    Just give it time, she is so young and should get faster with time. You could try nursing in a sling, that would allow you to be out and about more easily
    Ryder James 1/21/13

  3. #3

    Default Re: Duration of Nursing

    Because baby seems to be getting enough milk overall based on gain, I agree with pp. Long nursing sessions in general are quite normal in the early weeks, and it should get better over the next couple of months.

    What surprises me a little is that a baby who is gaining so well is so sleepy even at 6 weeks. Do you mean you have to wake baby to nurse most or all of the time? Or does baby wake and cue most of the time, but get sleepy after nursing for a while? Does baby typically want both sides each session, or one at a time? And how many sessions a 24 hour days are there (typically.)

    Also, I am wondering about it taking so long for baby to drink from a bottle. This is not really my area, and it is certainly not a good idea to give a bottle too quickly, as often happens, which is why breastfeeding professionals suggest paced bottle feeding. But that does seem like a long time. What if you give baby 2 ounces? Does it take 40 minutes? What I am wondering is if the reason it is taking baby so long to drink 3 ounces is, baby does not really want three ounces at once, or does it really take 20 minutes for baby to get each ounce out of a bottle. This may be normal, but I think if the situation is that baby takes an hour at the breast basically every time, AND the bottle every time, it might be something to check out with an IBCLC- a board certified lactation consultant, just to be sure latch and sucking patterns are optimal.

    If you are out and baby is taking too a long time, what happens if you simply unlatch baby and get going? Yes it is important to in general let baby end the feeding session, but again, assuming normal weight gain it is fine to occasionally end the session yourself.

    Breast compressions works for some moms to shorten feeding sessions. Do an online search for Jack Newman breast compressions to find a good article about this.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Duration of Nursing

    with the PPs. I also want to point out that sleeping and snacking are completely normal associations for a baby to have with breastfeeding.

    First, while breastfeeding is often marketed as a feeding choice rather than a parenting choice, it's actually both. Breastfeeding is usually the fastest, most convenient, most reliable parenting tool a mom has for getting her baby to sleep, to relax, to stop crying, or to stop hurting. A lot of moms feel guilty for relying on the breast to meet needs other than nutrition, but they shouldn't.

    Second, a better term for "snacking" would be "eating frequent small meals", and that style of eating is a) normal for a baby and b) healthier than eating infrequent, large meals.

    I know you're heading back to work and perhaps worried that your baby will be difficult to care for if she grows reliant on the breast for comfort and sleep. But that's very unlikely to be the case. Babies are smarter than we give them credit for, and your baby knows that you're the only person on earth with the nursing superpower. When she's at daycare, she'll find other ways to get her needs met.
    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!"

  5. #5

    Default Re: Duration of Nursing

    Thank you for the wonderful advice and insights.

    In response to your questions, Meg, she starts nursing very actively with her eyes open for the first five minutes or so and then she (most of the time) stays actively sucking for another few minutes before she drifts off to sleep. She continues to suckle while sleeping, or at least I think she's sleeping because her arms are limp. If I don't hear her swallowing I try to wake her up and when it doesn't work I unlatch her, burp her and offer the second breast and then it happens again. I usually offer each breast twice before I decide we're done. She hardly ever unlatches signaling she's done. I usually decide she's done after offering both breasts twice, they feel empty and its been an hour. It's always been this way and I used to feel really insecure about it but knowing she's gaining and she's got the right number of diapers, I know she's drinking enough. I don't know what it is for her to decide she's done.

    Ironically, after nursing her she is wide awake (unless its the middle of the night) and will stay awake for about a half hour before going down for a nap.

    I don't know how long it takes for her to drink an ounce from a bottle because I've never fed her from a bottle myself. I'll have to ask my husband. I didn't consider she may just not want 3oz at the time but the pediatrician told me she should be drinking 3oz-4oz at her age. I usually pump 2.5oz-3oz when she's drinking her bottle at night.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Duration of Nursing

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    how many sessions a 24 hour days are there (typically.)
    She usually does 8 sessions a day… sometimes 9.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Duration of Nursing

    She sounds like a textbook sleepy baby. Something that works for a lot of sleepy babies is switch nursing; it can make feedings faster and lead to better milk transfer. It sounds like you're already doing a form of switch nursing, but you could intensify it a bit, and not let the baby get into that limp-limbed state. So when baby shows signs of dozing off on breast A, you take her off, burp her or change her diaper, and put her on breast B. If she starts acting dozy on breast B, you burp her again and put her back on breast A, and so forth, until she will no longer wake. In theory, switch nursing teaches your baby that if she's going to be at the breast, she has to be businesslike and efficient. No napping until she's filled her tummy!

    It may also help to do the following:
    - keep the lights dim- a lot of young babies will close their eyes in response to bright light
    - keep the baby cool- before nursing, strip her down to a single light layer and/or keep a fan blowing in the room where you're nursing
    - annoy her- rub against the grain of her hair or tickle the soles of her feet using your hand or a cool damp washcloth
    - use breast compressions every time baby seems to be slowing down and dozing off
    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!"

  8. #8
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    Jan 2013
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    Default Re: Duration of Nursing

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mrsv21 View Post
    I don't know how long it takes for her to drink an ounce from a bottle because I've never fed her from a bottle myself. I'll have to ask my husband. I didn't consider she may just not want 3oz at the time but the pediatrician told me she should be drinking 3oz-4oz at her age. I usually pump 2.5oz-3oz when she's drinking her bottle at night.
    3-4 oz would be a medium-to-large feeding for a breastfed baby. It's definitely possible that she just doesn't want 3 oz all at once. My daughter never took much larger than 1-2 oz in a bottle when she was that age and we first tried it in preparation for me to return to work.

    She continues to suckle while sleeping, or at least I think she's sleeping because her arms are limp. If I don't hear her swallowing I try to wake her up and when it doesn't work I unlatch her, burp her and offer the second breast and then it happens again. I usually offer each breast twice before I decide we're done. She hardly ever unlatches signaling she's done.
    This also sounds a lot like my daughter. We did a lot of switch nursing in the early days, but her gain was always more than appropriate, so I eventually just let her do what she wanted to do. Which, usually, was to feed and actively swallow like a madwoman for the first few minutes, and then take a "boob snooze." If she let go, I'd still always switch sides, but I almost never actively removed her from a breast to do so, even if she was just doing the sleepy flutter sucking. And what that meant for me was...I spent a lot of time relaxing on the couch in the newborn period, because my daughter was pretty constantly latched on! Some babies really, really like to stay latched through their naps. And like PPs mentioned, as baby gets older, this will change. Baby will be more interested in the world around them!
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Default Re: Duration of Nursing

    this is exactly what my baby does.. she just completed 4 weeks, her pattern is drink aggressively for the first 10 mins, and then its long sucks for next 20 mins. and then she stops, and that time i switch her on to other side and this continues. And then she falls sleep for about 1.5 to 2 hrs during day time, (and she sleeps 3 hours at a stretch during night time.)
    But for the past 2-3 days i have noticed that this feeding session have relatively reduced to 40 -45 mins (from 1.5 hours).
    Even now her pattern is eat-sleep-eat-sleep.
    when doest this pattern change? and at what age do babies start spending more wake-full hours. I do have the a play mat (or the baby gym).. but whenever i put her on that she cries...
    any advice? suggestions?
    New Mom to a cute lil baby girl

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Duration of Nursing

    The time until a baby becomes more alert varies from a few weeks to a few months.

    I'm sure the play-mat is cute, but don't expect to get much use out of it until at least 3-5 months. Babies know instinctively that they are safest in mom's arms. As far as a baby knows, we're still living in caveman times, and being put down means a greater chance of getting eaten by a sabretooth tiger. Also, young babies really aren't interested in anything besides being held and being nursed. Result: young babies cry every time you try to put them down.

    By the time they're a few months old, many babies become less dependent on being held because they are starting to discover the world around them. They may spend some time on their own watching the world go by or playing with their own fingers/toes. Until you reach that point, it's usually best just to keep the baby attached to you in a sling. That way baby knows she's safe from the sabretooth tigers, but you can still move around the house.
    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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