Breastfeeding Myths Part 3 (re: The “Golden Hour”/How long to let baby breastfeed)

Breastfeeding is just one of those topics where lots of misinformation is spread through very well-intentioned advice and sometimes it’s hard to know what exactly to believe. In past newsletters, we have shared many of these myths about breastfeeding  and we would like to share them with you again in a short and sweet 5 part blog series. 

#7     • If you miss that first “golden hour” of skin to skin time with your baby, breastfeeding will be difficult.
Best practice is to immediately put a newborn on mom’s belly or chest and allow baby to breastfeed. There is no arguing that as ideal.
     But sometimes it doesn’t happen. For good reason or not so good, the best intentions don’t always work out.
Don’t let that change your expectations and plans that breastfeeding will work. Don’t think of it as a “strike” against your success at breastfeeding and begin to look for problems.
Continue to do skin to skin with your baby at every opportunity, give your baby lots of practice time at the breast and get help early if you are having pain or other concerns.
#8     • Babies get all the milk they need in the first 5 minutes of nursing.
Some older babies get so efficient (and so distracted by the world around them) that they can manage to get a feed in just a few minutes. But most babies, especially newborns, should be allowed to feed until they show signs of being satisfied, like coming off the breast themselves or relaxed arms and hands. Every baby has a different eating pace and every mother has a unique pattern of time between milk let-downs.
#9     • Babies should stay on each breast for 10 or 20 or 14.5 minutes.
The amount of time it takes a baby to breastfeed varies considerably based on the individual baby, how old he is and how adept he is at breastfeeding.
A newborn is not a pro at breastfeeding. He needs lots of sucking time to feel satisfied. Moms are often told to feed a certain number of minutes on each side as a rule of thumb to use until they learn what their baby’s cues are that he is satisfied. There is nothing magic about this number.
     Another part of this answer is what the baby is doing at the breast. A baby can suck a bit and doze a lot and not get a full meal no matter how many minutes he hangs out. A baby needs to be actively suckling and swallowing (yes, he can pause to rest!) for it to count as a meal.
Watch the baby’s expression for satiety, his diapers for good output and learn how your breast feels when more and less full. Those will be better indicators than the clock.

We want to know what you think!