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Effective Sucking

What is effective sucking?

During effective, nutritive sucking, your baby uses the structures of his/her mouth to compress the milk sinuses beneath your breast and move milk into the back of his/her throat to swallow. Initially, your baby may seem to suck in rapid bursts to trigger milk let-down (MER). Once let-down occurs, your baby should suck at the rate of about one suck a second, pausing only to take a breath with every few sucks.

Illustration of breastfeeding, latch-on

Your baby should continue to suck for about 10 to 30 minutes before he/she lets go (self-detaches) on the first breast. If your baby frequently falls asleep at the breast within a few minutes of latch-on or your baby frequently breastfeeds for 35 minutes on the first breast without self-detaching, discuss this with your baby's physician or a certified lactation consultant (IBCLC).

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