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Timing of Breastfeeding

Learn to recognise when baby is latched on well and how long to feed them from each breast.

If baby is attached correctly

  • Their chin will be touching the breast but their nose should be reasonably clear.
  • Their bottom lip will be flanged outwards and not turned inwards.
  • They’ll be sucking quite quickly, but once the milk starts to flow they’ll change to rhythmic longer sucks with some short pauses. You’ll also start to hear them swallowing – this will happen more as your milk comes in and flows more.
  • The baby’s cheeks should stay rounded when sucking.

If baby is not attached correctly

  • Their checks may be dimpled – this usually means there’s a problem with their latch.
  • You may hear funny little clicking noises during sucking – this may mean baby needs to be taking more breast tissue into the mouth.

How long on each breast

Different individuals find different ways to breastfeed, but a general rule of thumb is to:

  1. Feed from one breast.
  2. Feed from the other breast if baby is still hungry.
  3. Remember to start the next feed on the breast that you last fed from.

Generally, in the early days of breastfeeding you can aim to feed from both breasts at least eight times in any given 24-hour period. However there are many variations in breasts, milk supply and circumstances.

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