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How to tell your baby is getting milk
Once your baby is positioned and sucking, you can tell whether he is getting milk by the pattern of his sucks. A series of sucks will begin to release milk from your breast. After that, your baby will suck once or twice, push you further, and then swallow the milk that is in his mouth. After a short pause, he will take another suck and swallow. If you can see or hear a suck-suck-long-jaw-movement-swallow-pause pattern, your baby is getting milk.
You can also keep a log or put a safety pin on your bra strap, so you know which breast to start with for the next feeding.
It usually takes between 10 and 20 minutes for a baby to be satisfied. It's best to watch your baby rather than a clock to determine when he has finished nursing on one side. Letting your baby empty one breast before going to the second assures that he is getting the milk that has a higher fat content, which comes later in a feeding.
You will know when your baby has finished because he sucks but does not swallow, lets go of the breast or releases the suction, or falls asleep.
At this point you can take him off the breast and burp him. You can stimulate him a little and then offer the other breast. He may nurse on this side for a while or feel full and not need additional milk. It is this second side that you will offer first at the next feeding.
If your baby begins to nurse and then falls asleep in fewer than 10 minutes, continue nursing with the same breast. Take your baby off the breast, burp him, and then try to
waken him by talking to him, rubbing his back or feet, or taking off some of his clothes. Then offer him your breast again.
You can tell an emptied breast because it will feel softer and lighter than before the feeding. If you are unsure of which breast to start with, determine which breast is
fuller. Use your hand to cup under your breast and lift it slightly. Compare it to your other breast. The breast that feels heavier and firmer is the one to start with.