Calves nurse below water, close to the surface.
The calf suckles from nipples concealed in abdominal mammary slits.
Observations in zoological parks show that nursing usually begins within six hours of birth. A calf nurses as often as 4 times per hour for the first 4 to 8 days.
Each nursing instance usually lasts only about 5 to 10 seconds. A calf nurses 3 to 8 times per hour throughout the day and night.
Milk is composed of 33% fat, 6.8% protein, and 58% water, with traces of lactose. The rich milk helps the baby rapidly develop a thick blubber layer.
A calf may nurse for up to 18 months.