How do I respond to: why is my baby breastfeeding for over an hour?

Babies may breastfeed for over an hour due to several reasons such as inefficient milk transfer, growth spurts, or simply for comfort and soothing. It is common for newborns to nurse frequently and for extended periods in order to establish a good milk supply and bond with their mother.

Why is my baby breastfeeding for over an hour

Extensive response

Babies breastfeeding for over an hour can be a common occurrence and can be attributed to various factors such as inefficient milk transfer, growth spurts, and the need for comfort and soothing. Let’s explore these reasons in detail.

  1. Inefficient milk transfer: Sometimes, babies may take longer to extract milk from the breast, leading to extended feeding sessions. This can happen if the baby has difficulty latching properly, if the milk flow is slow, or if the baby is learning to coordinate their suckling.

  2. Growth spurts: Babies go through periods of rapid growth and development known as growth spurts. During these times, they may increase their feeding frequency and duration to meet their increasing nutritional needs. Breastfeeding for longer stretches helps ensure that the baby gets enough milk to support this growth.

  3. Comfort and soothing: Breastfeeding provides more than just nutrition for a baby; it also offers comfort, warmth, and closeness with the mother. Some babies may nurse for extended periods simply for the emotional and physical comfort it brings.

To support this, lactation consultant and author Nancy Mohrbacher explains, “Many mothers feel that their babies are nursing forever at times. Babies comfort and soothe themselves by nursing. Because of this, the duration of breastfeeding sessions can vary greatly.”

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Interesting facts about breastfeeding durations:

  1. Newborns typically need to feed more frequently, sometimes every 1-3 hours, as they have small stomachs and breast milk is digested quickly.
  2. On average, babies consume around 25-35 ounces of breast milk per day during their first month.
  3. As babies grow, they may become more efficient at breastfeeding, resulting in shorter feeding sessions.
  4. Breastfeeding duration can vary widely between babies and even within the same baby from one feed to another.
  5. Extended breastfeeding sessions can help stimulate the mother’s milk supply and contribute to a strong bond between mother and baby.

By understanding the reasons behind extended breastfeeding sessions, parents can gain reassurance that their baby’s behavior is normal and natural. It is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a lactation consultant if there are concerns about breastfeeding durations.

Here is a simple table offering a brief comparison between the reasons for extended breastfeeding durations:

Reasons for Extended Breastfeeding
Inefficient milk transfer
Growth spurts
Comfort and soothing

Remember, every baby is unique, and their breastfeeding patterns may vary. Trust your instincts and seek support if you have any concerns about breastfeeding or your baby’s development.

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Further answers can be found here

The biggest culprit for hour-long nursing sessions? Your baby is likely dozing off. Sure, it might look like he’s still nursing, especially when you see his lips and mouth move. But he could simply be sucking to comfort or soothe himself to sleep instead of eating.

I am sure you will be interested in these topics as well

Is it normal for my baby to nurse for over an hour?
If every feed takes ages, without your baby seeming contented at the end, just check that she’s latched on well. But a long feed isn’t necessarily a problem. Babies can take as much as an hour to finish a feed, or as little as five minutes.
Why is my baby nursing for so long?
Response: Your baby will go through many growth spurts in the first year. They can cause your baby to nurse longer and more often. These growth spurts typically happen when your baby is around 2-3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months old. But your baby’s growth spurts may not happen at these exact times.
Why won't my baby stop breastfeeding for hours?
They seem to feed continuously over several hours, often in the evening or early hours of the morning and may not settle to sleep easily. Cluster feeding is normal and not usually linked to a low supply. But if you’re concerned about your milk supply, there are ways you can tell if your baby is getting enough milk.
Why is my baby breastfeeding for an hour and still hungry?
Response: Growth spurt
Babies’ growth occurs in a step-wise pattern. Growth spurts (a period of accelerated growth) are separated by growth plateaus (a period of stagnant growth). During a growth spurt, your baby may appear to be hungrier than usual. If breastfeeding, he may demand nursing more often.
Should I breastfeed my Baby for a long time?
If you continue to breastfeed your child for an extended period, you’ll likely find that your breasts become the ultimate source of comfort for your baby. This has pluses and minuses, as it can sometimes feel stressful to be the main person your child comes to when they’re upset or hurt.
Why does my Baby Want to nurse 24 hours a day?
Answer: Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the normal things that make your baby want to nurse 24 hours a day, SEVEN DAYS A WEEK. You see, there’s this little baby phenomenon called cluster feeding. Cluster feeding is basically the bane of every breastfeeding mother’s existence. It’s pretty awful.
Why does my Baby cluster eat a lot?
The reply will be: It’s common in newborn, breastfeeding babies. Cluster feeding often happens in the first days after birth and again during baby growth spurts. Your baby may cluster feed more in the evening to fill up before bed, or to catch up if they didn’t eat enough at a previous feeding.
Is a constantly hungry breastfeeding baby normal?
As an answer to this: In MANY cases, a constantly hungry breastfeeding baby is, well, completely and exasperatingly NORMAL. Yes. Normal. So don’t throw in the towel just yet! Breastfeeding is absolutely, 100% exhausting and draining and worrying and painful (don’t believe the experts who say that it shouldn’t be) but it’s also freaking beautiful!

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Pregnancy and the baby