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How do you know when you have drained your breast?

This might be a stupid question but Hugo is now a week old and I'm exclusively breast feeding. i know you should drain one breast completely before switching to the other but how do you know when the breast has changed? My milk has only been in for a few days and they just feel generally tender so I can't 'feel' if they're drained or not and tend to change when the nipple pain gets too much.

Can anyone help?


Peeptoe and Hugo (1 week today)


  • you will find a feed should take anywere between 10 and 40 mins,my be an hour sometimes at this age.
    if he breaks off himself its usually as he is full/empty breast. indeed falling asleep,we called that the milk haze is a good sign he is satisfied.
    try squeezing abit out wen he comes off if nothing there switch,but tbh my lo just fed on demand pretty much on the hour for 6weeks(he was prem so had some making up to do) and then cluster fed in the eves 4-9 at least on/off all the time,they dont call it feeding on DEMAND for nothin!!
    Re pain, try only putting him on once his mouth is at fully open as in like a big yawn that should ease it alot,if not open enough break off and try again and put his nose level with your nipple that helps loads x
    try to relax and enjoy it, wet and dirty nappies are the best sign all is well x
  • I could never really say if mine were drained or not...if I was engorged then I could feel bumpy bits that went away when LO had feed because the ducts had been drained. With both my LO's feeds on one breast would only last between 10-15mins I never had them feed for long stretchs until they were a few months old.
    If you are suffering nipple pain then make sure you are using Lansinoh nipple cream all the time to help them heal & as M+K said - check bb is latching onto the breast and not your nipple!
    Having a bath and lying on your front can sooth your boobs as can hot towels or those gel packs for your breasts and breast shells too.
  • Thanks for your replies. Just in the last day the nipplepain has eased but I am still just guessing when to swap breasts. I'm just worried he's not getting both the fore and hind milks in the proper proportions. He is feeding for around an hour each time - including a few minutes here and there for burping and nappy changes. I feel like he's constantly feeding as if I put him in his basket to sleep he just wakes up 5 mins later wanting the breast again. I guess this is normal though in a very young baby?
  • when my breasts are drained they feel a lot lighter and softer and if you squeeze the nipple nothing comes out.
  • ye totally normal in young baby. dont worry bout your lo getting enough "fore and hind milk" it turns out that what was thought of the milk flow originally isn't correct and the type of milk changes several times in a feed. remember if your baby is latched on properly a breast fed baby doesn't go hungry. try what i have suggested to others, strip your lo to just their nappy so they are cool but not cold this will keep them alert enough not to fall asleep half way thru a feed and will make them take a bigger feed hopefully satisfying them for longer. it does get easier tho promise

    try changing to your breast after your lo has been feeding at one breast for 30 mins in total, they should have taken what they need from that side by then xxxx
  • I was never and still am quite sure!!! Lo is now 5.5 months and he will stop when one side is empty and launch himself at the otherside so at least one of us knows what we're doing!!

    I used to swap sides after 30mins when he was younger as he would happily keep sucking for an hour or more although no actually sure if he was drinking all that time.
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