How long should I breast feed for?

Feeds can take anything from 10 minutes to 1 hour, with an average feed lasting between 20 & 30 minutes.

The length of time a feed lasts depends on the 'let down reflex' - this is the mechanism that releases the milk from the breasts when your baby feeds and also affects how just the milk flows. This varies enormously from mother to mother, with some having a very fast let down, others having a very slow one and the majority having a normal one.

A mother has no control over her let down reflex and it is very much the luck of the draw as to how fast or slow it is.

If a baby gets enough milk at each feed, it should last him roughly 3-4 hours. Doing this, he will have between 6-9 feeds a day until he starts sleeping longer at night, at which point the number of feeds will gradually be reduced.

Note: it is normal if a baby sometimes ‘cluster’ feeds (ie has lots of little feeds) at certain times of the day. This often happens in the evening when your supply might be a little bit low.

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