Baby doesn’t drain breast – Is it okay?

Verified by Edna Skopljak MD
Verified by Edna Skopljak MD

Edna Skopljak is a medical doctor and an editor at BJBMS medical journal. She graduated from the University of Sarajevo School of Science and Technology.

Reasons why babies don’t drain the best while feeding

Babies get distracted easily.

Babies who get distracted may take breaks or stop suckling before the breast is completely drained. Feeding in a distraction-free environment can help keep your baby focused on feeding and draining your breast.

The baby falls asleep while nursing.

Babies are known for dozing off while breastfeeding, incredibly when tired. They can lose their sucking rhythm and get distracted when they fall asleep. If your baby falls asleep during your feed, try to gently rouse them or break their latch before continuing the feed.

The baby has a shallow latch.

If the baby’s mouth is not covering enough of the areola, it may be difficult for them to draw out all the milk from your breasts. Try repositioning your baby for a better latch, and you may ask a healthcare provider or lactation consultant to help you correct it and teach you how to properly position your baby on the breast.

Should the baby drain both breasts?

Ideally, a baby should drain both breasts at each feed to ensure they get the total amount of nutrition. However, if your baby is not draining each breast, it doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong. Monitor your baby’s growth and weight gain to determine if they get enough nourishment from the feeding session.

If you are concerned about your baby not draining both breasts, speak to your healthcare provider or lactation consultant. They will be able to evaluate the situation and offer advice on ensuring your baby is getting enough nutrition from breastfeeding.

How long does it take a baby to drain a breast?

Your little one’s feeding time may differ daily, mainly influenced by your infant’s age and latch technique, as well as the amount of milk you have. Newborn babies often take longer due to their still-developing sucking reflex. Older infants feed more quickly since they have better control over their sucking reflexes. On average, it can take 15 to 45 minutes for a baby to drain a breast. Every mother-baby pair is different, so the time it takes to drain a breast fully may vary.

How do I know if my baby is emptying my breast?

You can tell if your baby is emptying your breast when they take long, deep sucks and swallow often. You may also feel a tingling sensation or slight tugging as they feed. If you are worried because your baby might not be draining the breast completely, look for signs of hunger after the feed, such as sucking their thumb or lip smacking. You may also check to see if your breast feels softer and less full after the feed.


It’s critical to guarantee that your baby receives adequate nutrition while nursing. If you feel they are not draining the breast completely, speak with a healthcare provider or lactation consultant for guidance and tips. With their help, you’ll be able to create an effective feeding plan, and you can rest assured that your little one is receiving adequate nourishment during every nursing session.