During effective, nutritive sucking, your baby uses the structures of his or her mouth to compress the milk sinuses beneath your breast and move milk into the back of his or her throat to swallow. Initially, your baby may seem to suck in rapid bursts to trigger milk let-down, also called the milk-ejection reflex (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.
Your baby should continue to suck for about 10 to 30 minutes before he or 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 doctor or a certified lactation consultant (IBCLC).
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