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How Long Should A Newborn Nurse?

How Long Should A Newborn Nurse
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Newborns are the hungriest babies in the world. You'll also spend a lot of time holding, rocking, and comforting your baby during these feeds because she will have frequent hunger cues that make her cry no matter what position she's in.

While nursing frequently is expected during this period of growth spurts and rapid development, it can be frustrating if all you want is some sleep!

So, How Long Should My Newborn Baby Nurse?

One of the most common misconceptions is that newborn babies should nurse for 20 minutes or longer. While this might be true in some cases, it's not necessarily true for all infants. A newborn's appetite may only last between 10-15 minutes before she needs another feeding session. This means she's likely to fall asleep while nursing and won't begin sucking again until she wakes up on her own—which could be as little as 5 minutes later!

But don't worry; she will naturally increase her feeding times as she grows older and develops better self-soothing skills (usually around six weeks).

If your little angel nurses every 2 hours and has long nursing sessions, encourage her to suck from both breasts. On the other side of the table, she may be nursing less often or taking one breast at a time, resulting in deficiencies in her milk consumption. 

To see if your baby is getting enough milk:

Count how many wet disposable or cloth diapers you change per day.

This varies depending on how much urine output there is (for example, some newborns urinate more than others).

Examine the colors of her stools. 

If they are yellowish like lemonade (or clear) rather than orange-colored or greenish, this is a sign that she's digesting well and getting enough calories from breastmilk alone. Unfortunately, the color check isn't definitive proof that everything is OK. Some newborns pass out more yellow/orange stools than others due to their natural coloration or something else not explicitly related to how much food they receive from mom's breasts. 

Monitor her weight.

You might also notice that he starts gaining weight faster than before if things are going well for both mommy AND baby!

Should My Baby Be Breastfeeding Every Hour Or Not?

As a general rule, how often your newborn should nurse depends on her age and weight (an older, chubbier baby will eat more frequently than a younger, smaller one). Younger babies usually nurse every 2 to 3 hours—some feed for longer, others for shorter. 

How To Survive And Thrive As A Nursing Mom

Ask for help

When your baby needs comfort, see if you can turn to a partner, family member, or friend to give her cuddles while you take a break.

Treat yourself

Take some time to do something you enjoy and relax.

Try distraction techniques 

If your baby nurses frequently because of the stress of visitors or other children in the house, see if you can distract her and take her mind off nursing.

How To Nurse Your Baby The Right Way

Breastfeeding is more than just something you do when you have a baby. It's a relationship—a beautiful, intimate relationship that's between you and your child. It starts when she's born and determines how long and often she nurses.

To begin with, get a good latch (this means you'll be able to feed your baby effectively, and you'll also be able to avoid damage to your nipples) by spreading your nipple wide with one hand while bringing your baby close with the other. Tilt your head toward the side you're nursing on, and bring the baby to your breast instead of bringing your breast up to the baby's mouth. Don't press down on your breast while trying to get the baby latched on. Instead, place both hands under the breast and use them as a barrier between you while you wait for her to latch on.

Make sure there's enough room in the front of the mouth before trying to get the baby latched on. Let your baby nurse for at least 10 minutes on each side, then burp her. Then try again—if this first feeding goes well, your little one will be hungry for more! Just let yourself enjoy it—you'll find your way as you go along.

Conclusion

Perhaps there was never any hard and fast rule about how long a baby should nurse, but in the modern era of medical technology, it seems that most doctors would recommend between 15 minutes and two hours as the upper limit. It is easy to get caught up in a routine, but don't forget to consider what works best for your baby—they will let you know. And if both you and baby are comfortable, then do not try to change things.

Have a look through our fun collection of newborn baby boy clothes! You can also find our cute baby girl outfits here.

Alex Smith

Alex Smith, author

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