There is a huge range of normal when it comes to the length of a breastfeed. Mothers have different storage capacities, different speeds of milk flow (milk ejection reflex), numbers of milk ducts and babies are different too. Feeds may also happen for different reasons – for hydration, for hunger after a longer interval, for comfort. Sometimes a baby might receive higher fat content milk from the start of a feed if the breast is emptier and if the baby is cluster feeding. When it comes to babies, there is very little ‘should’ about breastfeeding. If a baby is producing the expected nappies and is meeting their weight gain expectations, they are feeding for ‘long enough’. If a baby is feeding for a very long time, it might be worth a mum checking the way the baby is positioned on the breast by attending a breastfeeding support group.
“Second time, I wish I had known how different a nursing relationship could be. My first would nurse for agggggeeessss, but my second is so efficient he is done in five minutes. Made me completely freak out that he wasn't getting a proper feed.”
“I wish I’d known about the length of feeds: everyone from the night nurses in the hospital to the home visit midwife had me thinking I was doing things wrong, and too often. I was in hindsight very fortunate, in a way, that I had fast letdown and over supply with both babies. That meant that they got all they needed from one boob within 5 minutes, but even from the very early days in hospital with the old school matronly night nurse chastising me because he *must* feed 20 minutes from each side, I felt I was doing it all so wrong and he wasn't getting enough before he fell into a milk coma again. With my second I knew better and knew to trust rather than question my instinct!”