Feeding the Child
- Published on Saturday, 02 November 2013 02:53
- Written by babycentre.co.uk
I find it easier to feed on one side. Is this normal?
Yes. Many mums find it easier to latch their baby onto one breast than the other. You may have a preferred side for holding your baby when you are breastfeeding. We're all right or left-handed and so we all find it easier to perform tasks with one hand than with the other.
While you're getting the hang of breastfeeding, you could try using different positions for each breast. You could hold your baby underarm to feed from one breast, and across your body for the other. You can then use the same hand to bring your baby to your breast, whether it's the right-hand or the left-hand one. Find out more about feeding positions.
If there's a big difference in the texture or size of your nipples, your baby may find it easier to latch onto one than the other. This will matter less as you and your baby become more experienced at breastfeeding.
As time goes on, you're bound to get more skilled at latching on your baby. You'll probably find yourself doing it without even thinking about it. Then you can feed in any position you like.
Some mums may only have one breast which produces milk, because of surgery on that breast, for example. There is no problem with feeding a baby exclusively from one breast. After all, most mums of twins or more find one breast per baby works fine!
What if my baby has a favourite breast?
If your baby is under six weeks old, you need to give yourself a chance to keep a good supply of milk going in both breasts. Milk is produced on a supply-and-demand basis, so your milk supply may slow down in the less-favoured breast.
To keep your milk flowing, you could express milk from one breast while your baby feeds from the side she likes. This way, you are working with your natural letdown reflex. Don't worry if you find it too tricky. Another way is to express from the other side straight after your baby has fed from her favourite breast.
Once your milk supply gets going in the less-favoured side, try to gently encourage your baby to swap over. It's best to wait until she's already had a little feed. If she is very hungry, the change may just make her angry and frustrated!
If your baby is always allowed to finish the first breast, it may be that this is all she needs, particularly in the early days. If she always seems full after feeding from one side, simply offer the other breast first the next time she asks to feed.
Even if the favourite breast does end up contributing more and more to a feed, it doesn't really matter. The important thing is that your baby is getting enough milk and is putting on weight.
Will I look lopsided?
No. You will know that one breast is producing more milk than the other, but no-one else will notice any difference. As time goes by, it will probably even out, anyway. Your breasts will go back to more or less their original size after you have weaned your baby.
Why is my baby suddenly rejecting one breast?
If your baby has suddenly turned away from one breast, try to work out why it is happening. It could be that she has a blocked nostril or ear infection which is making her prefer one breast. If you have mastitis she may not be keen on the milk from your affected breast. Mastitis can make your milk taste salty. In these cases, it should be easy for you to work out what the problem is and get help from your doctor.
An older baby may reject one breast because of low milk supply or flow in one, making the other more appealing to her.
If you can't work out why your baby is rejecting that breast, check how she is latching on. Think about changing her position when she breastfeeds. Your baby may have grown too big for the position you've both got used to. Sometimes, just sitting your baby up more, if she's been lying across your lap, is all you need to do.