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How long should you breastfeed baby?

As a new mum, there are likely a whirl of questions about breastfeeding you haven’t gotten an answer to – such as how much to feed baby, and how to know when he’s had enough. Put your mind to rest, because we’ve got the answers here!

Breastfeed baby: Unrestricted time

Your little one should be fed for as long as he likes, without any pressure whatsoever from you. Allow your baby an unrestricted amount of time to suckle on one breast before moving on to the next, and never rush your little one or pull him away before he is done feeding. This is because breastmilk comes in two parts: the thirst-quenching foremilk, followed by hindmilk. The latter is necessary to satisfy hunger, and is rich in fats, carbohydrates and antibodies to build up your little one’s immune system.

RELATED: How do I know if my baby is full after each feed?

How long is an “unrestricted” amount of time?

You should expect to take about 20 – 30 minutes on the first breast while feeding baby, especially in the first few weeks while he gradually adjusts. On average, your tiny one will only spend about 10 to 15 minutes on your second breast. If it feels fuller than your first breast come the next feeding time, offer that breast first.

And rather than checking the time constantly, observe your baby sucking and swallowing. Your maternal instincts will give you a gauge of when he is done feeding on one breast!

RELATED: How nipple shields could make breastfeeding more comfortable

What if baby falls asleep while feeding?

First of all, don’t be alarmed if this happens often, because babies feel most comfortable at their mothers’ breast. Stroke your little one’s face or gently tickle his chin to wake him up. If, after about half an hour, you notice no sucking motions on your breast, unlatch baby — and remember to use the right method of breaking suction with your finger, rather than pulling your nipple out from his mouth.

RELATED: When you breastfeed baby: how do I know baby is latched on properly?

You could also lightly burp baby to wake him up before offering him your second breast. With practice, you’ll soon master the art of knowing when baby has had enough, and how to properly latch and unlatch him!

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