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My three-month-old daughter is demand-fed and each feed takes at least 45 minutes. Is this normal?

It may be time-consuming for you, but it sounds as though you’re spending just as long breastfeeding as your baby needs.

Babies can take as much as an hour to finish a feed or as little as five minutes, provided they’re latched on well.

The length of a feed depends on how long it takes for milk to go from your breast to your baby. For some mums and babies this process happens quite quickly. For others, it’s on the slow side. However, the amount of milk the baby gets in both cases is about the same.

As long as your baby is growing well, you can let her set the pace. If you allow her to feed at her own speed, she’ll develop a good appetite control. This will tell her she’s full when she’s taken the calories she needs to grow.

You’ll know she’s getting enough milk if she’s gaining about 110g to 225g (4oz to 8oz) a week in her first three months. Of course, all babies are different sizes. But you should notice your baby's body getting longer and her head getting bigger.

There will be times when your baby seems to want to feed more often, or for longer. It’s best to allow her to feed whenever, and for as much time, as she wants, because she’s growing all the time. Your body will soon adjust and make more milk to cope with her demands.

Rather than clock-watch while your baby is at your breast, try to relax and enjoy being with her. Pick up a good book or magazine to read while breastfeeding. If she’s tucked into bed beside you, you may find yourself dozing off and getting some much-needed rest.

In a month or so, your baby will be much more easily distracted. You may find then that she spends only five minutes feeding.

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